It’s a cup, the most utilitarian of household items. But when it’s your cup, it becomes so much more.
“It’s personal,” says Kristin “Malia” Krolak, director of the Alfred C. Glassell Jr. Exhibition Gallery. “Things taste better when you’re drinking from your cup. It’s like waking up to a hug in the morning.”
Glassell Gallery’s walls are filled with prospective hugs, one of which you might want to buy and take home, in “8 Fluid Ounces 2016,” the LSU School of Art’s seventh national invitational ceramic cups exhibition.
“This show is so special, because it has a way of appealing to everyone,” Krolak says. “So many people understand what it is to start their mornings or relax in the evenings with their cup.”
The show runs through March 6 and features more than 100 cups by 18 ceramic artists from throughout the country. Ceramic artist Ayumi Horie, whose work also is included, curated the show.
“In the past, we invited different artists to submit one cup each,” Krolak says. “We’ve done it differently for the past couple of shows, where we have a curator invite ceramic artists whose work they like, and those artists submit a series of work.”
Horie’s own pieces are always in demand.
“I bought one of Ayumi’s cups the first time she showed in the exhibit, which was probably 2006,” Krolak says. “Her work has become so sought-after that we had buyers calling in from throughout the nation when they learned she would be showing at Glassell. They bought her work over the phone.”
Horie is a full-time studio potter from Portland, Maine. Her work is functional and usually features animal designs.
Horie was the first to be named Ceramic Artist of the Year by Ceramic Monthly. She is currently on the board of the American Craft Council, and her work can be found in private and public collections throughout the country, including the Museum of Art and Design in New York City.
She’s now collaborating on a public art project for Portland Brick, which aims to highlight Portland’s significance by personalizing its streets.
Horie invited Adam Greutzmacher, Beth Lo, Birdie Boone, Brett Freundly, Brian Jones, Darcy Chenoweth, Holly Walker, Klai Brown, Kyla Toomey, Lauren Gallaspy, Matt Kelleher, Matthew Levi Jorgenson, Sanam Emami, Shoko Teruyama, Susan Dewsnap and Kat Hutter and Roger Lee, who work together under the name katandroger.
“Ayumi did a great job of choosing the artists for this show,” Krolak says. “It’s the kind of show that always surprises you, because you never know what to expect. The work is always so great and different.”
In addition to the whimsical and eclectic cups, pitchers also are featured, and, in artist Mike Helke’s case, an ewer, which is technically “a large jug with a wide mouth.”
But Helke’s ewer is more than that.
His style is animated, and the result is color in action on curious pieces that defy description. The artist lives and works in Stillwater, Minnesota, and his ewers are among his most popular pieces.
Regardless of how beautiful or bewitching these cups and pitchers and ewers are, they are not meant to sit on a shelf, objets d’art to be admired.
They are meant to be used, Krolak says.
“They become part of a person and their daily routine,” she says, “and they have a way of making your everyday life more special.”