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American Pottery Festival Preview: Kirk Mangus
The Northern Clay Center’s 15th annual American Pottery Festival (APF) is this weekend, September 13 – 15. To get ready for the three-day ceramics extravaganza, we’re talking to some of the fantastic artists who will be there. Today’s Q&A is with Kirk Mangus, head of ceramics at Kent State University.
You’re giving a demo/lecture on Saturday afternoon titled “Musings on Beauty.” I'm intrigued. What inspired this subject?
Beauty is an ephemeral, convoluted, and prejudiced concept. It deals with everything from cultural and family values to a form of enlightenment that transcends pedantic education. With pottery, the variety of possibilities involving use and contemplation defy simple rules for appreciation. I will elaborate on some my thoughts and encounters that have altered my perceptions on beauty, power, and the vessel.
Can you tell us a bit about the work you're bringing to APF? One of the things I realized I love most about the festival setup is the chance to see a whole lot of someone's work all at once – more than the handful of pieces you might see in an everyday sales gallery setting. Each display feels like an opportunity to really jump into someone’s aesthetic world.
I am interested in making colorful works that mingle well as a group or as individuals. I also want this pottery to be useful, eccentric, and intricate, while feeling modern and ancient at the same time. This work has been produced over the last three months, so I am excited to see them as a group in a new space.
And, of course: What are you looking forward to at this year's APF?
I am looking forward to having intellectual discourse with a variety of people on the subject of pottery today and life around the country, and seeing the fine folks of Minnesota again.
Stay tuned for more sneak peeks with APF artists, and, if you're in the Twin Cities – see you there! Julie K. Hanus is American Craft's senior editor.