If you are interested in seeing ceramic cups, plates and sculptures from around the world, then be sure to check out the Clay Guild’s national competition and exhibit of Twin Cups.
Twin Cups is sponsored by the Clay Guild student organization here on campus. President of the organization, Patrick Larsen, explains why the club started a national competition here in St. Joseph.
“It was just an idea that came up. I mean we tried to do something on a national level,” Larsen said. “Most of the advanced students have entered national shows or international shows before and we thought it would be neat to bring something like that to Missouri Western.”
Larsen also explains some new changes that have been made to the competition this year.
“This is the second year, and this year we are adding a plate show to the Twin Cups show. So there will be two shows running simultaneously,” Larsen said.
The competition begins with filling out an online application where any and all can apply from anywhere around the world. David Harris, professor of ceramics, explains the application process.
“There’s an online application that needs to be filled out and they send their images and their information about the pieces themselves, and then the images are sent to the judge and he juries them via slides,” Harris said.
After the application is sent in, an average of twenty to fifty percent of the pieces get chosen to move on for judging. Awards are also given for best in show, first and second place.
“Usually awards are given after the work is up and the judge looks at them in person,” Harris said.
The awards will include $500 for best in show, $200 for first place and $100 for second place.
The work will be on display in Potter Hall’s Fine Art Gallery beginning the last week of February. An opening of the exhibit will be held on Feb. 27 between 6-8 p.m. at the gallery.
Students at Western are also encouraged to enter the competition. Art student, Leila Hicks, explains why she submitted pieces in to be judged.
“It’s a national show and because I’m local and it’s local I don’t have to mail anything. I don’t imagine the judges look to see where you’re from and say oh she’s just from St. Joe,” Hicks said. “I could be from Timbuktu and get just as much chance getting selected as anybody else.”
Hicks also explained what about the competition makes her and other ceramic or art students want to join.
“I think it’s exciting, we have exciting judges and I think that makes it interesting for somebody to want to enter,” Hicks said.
The juror of this year’s competition is Steven Hill, who has been a professional studio potter since 1974. His work has been on display in many exhibits and juried shows, and has even appeared in some ceramic books.
Harris explains why having a judge so well known in the pottery and ceramics culture can be good for the competition.
“If the judge has good quality work, it feels good when your work gets selected because you sort of admire them for what they’re doing,” Harris said.
Having a national competition such as this, with a well-known juror, can be good for the art department and the campus.
“I think it brings some notoriety to the gallery and to Missouri Western, and I think it speaks volumes for the Clay Guild to actually put up some money to have a national ceramic show here,” Harris said.
Harris encourages students to submit work for future shows as well as come to the gallery when the work is on display.
“For artists, it’s important to show their work. I mean we sit around here and make it all the time, but if you don’t show it to somebody you’re only making it for yourself,” Harris said.
The Twin Cups gallery accepts almost anything in terms of ceramic pieces. Harris explains the pieces can be structural, functional, or anything out-of-the-box.
“There were some beautifully crafted pieces last year,” Harris said. “There was a rather large piece last year that was ‘Alice in Wonderland’ sort of cups, but it had these duck figures in the cups combing each other’s hair. It was interesting to say the least.”
More information on the competition and the gallery exhibit can be found on the Clay Guild’s website, including a gallery of last year’s pieces.