A ceramics show has been on display at the Boatworks for a few weeks, but tonight we had the official opening. The exhibition features 11 artists who work with ceramics in Monmouth and Ocean counties: Jim Aberle, Debby Bitterly, Don Bradford, Ali Bowie, Aireon Cline, Bruce England, Mil Wexler Kobrinski, Mary Leather, K. Dorsey Lucas, Nell Ryan, and Marlis Schleger.
So what is ceramics? Simply put, it is an art form made from clay, a natural substance that can be found in the ground in many places. The moist clay is shaped as desired, then fired, the heat making the clay hard and the shape permanent, while affecting the surface textures. How it is fired can vary greatly, and this show includes such methods as pit firing, raku, standard kilns, etc. Each method can get a very different result. As for what artists make from it, that's where it gets more complicated.
This exhibition features many vessels of course, a common use going back in pre-history. Plenty of bowls, vases, jars, plates- fired clay is very durable and vessels thousands of years old have been found around the world. But clay can also be shaped into anything else, and throughout history has been used to make many decorative and ceremonial items. All of this and more can be seen in this exhibition. A wall in the front gallery has a display that shows a small piece of the history of ceramics- examples, locations, purposes, processes.
The biggest part of the exhibition is samples of work from the eleven artists, each one getting a table or wall (or both) to fill, and these are found all around the front and back galleries.
The reception officially began at 5:00 pm, and before long visitors started arriving. Food put out by the participants was placed on tables in all rooms.
At one point Dorsey gave a short talk in the back gallery space, a brief overview of the history of ceramics, the materials, and some of its uses. But then we got back to the reception.
The All Fired Up exhibition remains on display during posted gallery hours through March 5, 2020. Admission is free, as always.