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215: Melissa Weiss on making pottery in a political era

Today on the Tales of a Red Clay Rambler Podcast I have an interview with Melissa Weiss. She mixes native Arkansas clay with commercial clays to create rich earth-toned pots in her Asheville, NC studio. The combination of the iron baring raw material and her immediate building style leave her geometric patterned pots appearing both antique and contemporary. In the interview we talk about selling on the show circuit, dealing with Carpel Tunnel Syndrome, and making pottery in a political era.

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214: Mark Errol on the growth of Plough Gallery

Today on the Tales of a Red Clay Rambler Podcast I have an interview with Mark Errol. Based in Tifton, GA Mark wears many hats in the clay world. He is a functional potter, gallery owner and professor at Valdosta State University. In our interview we talk about the founding of Plough Gallery, creating a safe space for students to experience failure and growth in the class room, and developing a vocabulary of domestic motifs within his current body of work. 

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209: Live spoken word performance by Kane Smego

Today on the Tales of a Red Clay Rambler Podcast I have a live spoken word performance by Kane Smego. In this dynamic performance he reckons with race, class and social expectation. This performance was recorded at the 2018 Pentaculum at Arrowmont where Smego was a writer-in-residence.

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208: Spoken word artist and rapper Kane Smego

Today on the Tales of a Red Clay Rambler Podcast I have an interview with Kane Smego. We met at the 2018 Arrowmont Pentaculum where he was a writer in residence working on a forthcoming one-man show titled Temples of Lung and Air. Smego is a spoken word and hip-hop artist, a National Poetry Slam finalist, and co-founder of the youth arts nonprofit Sacrificial Poets. In our interview we talk about poetry slams, his time teaching with Next Level – a diplomacy program administered by the U.S. Department of State's Bureau of Cultural Affairs, and the development of his one man show Temples of Lung and Air.

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207: Live storytelling from Michigan Mud!

Today on the Tales of a Red Clay Rambler Podcast I have a special live episode taped at the Michigan Mud Clay Conference. This week’s storytellers talk about how working with ceramics has given their lives purpose and meaning. Don’t miss this special recording taped live at Albion College in Albion, MI.

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205: Ken Shenstone and the 1000 cubic foot Albion Anagama

Today on the Tales of a Red Clay Rambler Podcast I have an interview with Ken Shenstone. A skilled potter and wood worker, Shenstone fires one of the largest Anagama kilns in the United States. His one thousand cubic foot kiln is fired once a year for ten days in addition to a smaller catenary arch kiln that is fired about every six weeks. To facilitate the labor of cutting wood, firing the kiln and maintaining his property Ken has encouraged a community of young potters and wood fire enthusiasts to develop around his Albion, Michigan studio. In our interview, we talk about kiln innovations that came from industrial steel furnace designs, the making and firing cycles of large scale kilns and learning organizational principles from the Grateful Dead.

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204: The history and unique mission of Pewabic Pottery

Today on the Tales of a Red Clay Rambler Podcast I have a panel discussion on the history and mission of Pewabic Pottery with Steve McBride, Annie Dennis, and Alex Thullen. The pottery was started in 1903 by Mary Chase Perry Stratton in Detroit, MI. Over the years Pewabic has expanded to include a tile works, educational center, gallery and ceramic outreach program for the greater Detroit area. In the interview, we talk about the legacy of Stratton, the growth of Pewabic’s mission and how they meet the artistic needs of their local community.

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203: Deep dive on selling pots with the Schaller Gallery. Special guest Sunshine Cobb on her new book Mastering Hand Building

Today on the Tales of a Red Clay Rambler Podcast I have a double interview featuring Sunshine Cobb and Anthony Schaller/Brittany Stecker Mason. In the first segment, I talk with Sunshine about her new book Mastering Hand Building. The book features practical techniques for hand building objects in clay, as well as, artists interviews and a section on finding your voice through making. In the second segment, I talk with gallery directors Anthony Schaller and Brittany Stecker Mason. They run the Schaller Gallery located in St. Joseph, MI.

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202: Clay, Community, and Faith among Goshen’s Mennonite Potters

Today on the Tales of a Red Clay Rambler Podcast I have an interview with four ceramic artists that live in the Goshen, IN area; Justin Rothshank, Dick Lehman, Marvin Bartel, and Mark Goertzen. They share an educational lineage that starts with Marvin Bartel, who came to Goshen College in 1970. Lehman and Rothshank were students at Goshen decades apart and both talk fondly of his experimental teaching techniques. Goertzen worked for Lehman for many years in his studio before later purchasing his studio at the Old Bag Factory in Goshen.

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201: Bill Kremer and Zach Tate on the history of Notre Dame ceramics

Today on the Tales of a Red Clay Rambler Podcast I have an interview with Bill Kremer and Zach Tate. Kremer has been the professor of ceramics at Notre Dame since 1973 helping to develop the undergraduate and graduate programs at Notre Dame. Tate came on as Ceramic Research Associate/Visiting Professor in 2014 and shares teaching and administrative duties. In our interview, we talk about the history of Notre Dame summer school, which hosted many of the nation’s premier ceramic artists of the 1970’s, Kremer’s teaching philosophy and the development of the MFA program at Notre Dame.

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200: Justin Rothshank on running a successful online business from a rural location

Today on the Tales of a Red Clay Rambler Podcast I have an interview with Justin Rothshank. Justin applies floral patterned custom laser, luster and commercial decals over wood fired functional pottery forms to create a unique depth of surface. In addition to that body of work he produces politically themed tableware that features portraits of past presidents and historic figures. In our interview, we talk about his role in cofounding the Union Project in Pittsburgh, PA, his Mennonite faith as it applies to social responsibility, and the growth of his online business from his home base in rural Indiana.

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199: Miniaturist Brooke Rothshank on her small-scale watercolor painting

Today on the Tales of a Red Clay Rambler Podcast I have an interview with Brooke Rothshank. Her vibrant watercolor compositions of people, objects, and scenery are rendered as small as a 1-by-1 inch scale. The expert skill of her paintings draws you into the subject matter creating a precious emotional quality that her patrons seek in the portraits she paints of their loved ones.

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197: Gail Kendall and the ASPN residency

Today on the Tales of a Red Clay Rambler Podcast I have an interview with Gail Kendall, Raven Halfmoon, Brant Weiland, and Jared Peterson. The group are linked through the Advanced Student Project Network at Red Lodge Clay Center. Each year five emerging artists are chosen for a three-week residency that is guided by an established mentor in the ceramic field. Kendall was this year’s mentor working with Weiland and Peterson. Halfmoon participated in the ASPN residency three years ago before returning as a long-term artist-in-residence. In the interview, we talk about setting goals after school, adjusting to the increased talent level at a major art institution and the characteristics that make for a healthy community studio.

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196: Behind the scenes at Red Clay Rambler central

Today on the Tales of a Red Clay Rambler Podcast I have a behind-the-scenes look at how the podcast gets made. My wife Melissa Brzycki steps into the interviewer role to ask me about the evolution of the show and my favorite interview moments. This minisode is released in conjunction with the launch of my Patreon fundraiser, which allows you to help with the production of the show in exchange for access to patron-only perks including podcast swag and exclusive recordings. To become a patron, visit www.patreon.com/redclayrambler.  

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