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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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194: Maggy Rozycki Hiltner on using found embroidery to challenge social norms

Today on the Tales of a Red Clay Rambler Podcast I have an interview with Maggy Rozycki Hiltner. Her most recent exhibition, What Lies Beneath, features large scale quilted fabric pieces made from found embroidery. The body of work uses skeletons, devils and other characters to question social norms about gender, class and death. In our interview, we talk about her interest in found embroidery, how she develops a character within the narrative of an exhibition and how her family history with religion and the occult has affected her aesthetic.

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193: Forrest Middelton, Arash Shirinbab, and Raeshma Razvi on the spiritual nature of creativity

Today on the Tales of a Red Clay Rambler Podcast I have an interview with Forrest Middelton, Arash Shirinbab, and Raeshma Razvi. Middelton, a ceramic artist, and Shirinbab, a calligrapher, have been working for the past two years towards an exhibition titled “To Contain and To Serve.” Their dialogue centers on the interplay of hospitality, morality and justice in contemporary cultural and media landscapes. The objects produced during the collaboration are calligraphy-inscribed ceramic tableware and tile inspired by the Persian ‘Nishapur’ tradition. Documentary filmmaker Razvi has been shooting the collaboration for future use in a film. In the episode, the artists use the question “Is creativity inherently spiritual?” as a jumping off point to discuss the introspective nature of craft and how cross-cultural exchange can provide a solution for political discord.

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192: Brian Harper on building sculpture and community. Special guest Carole Epp on The Crafted Dish.

Today on the Tales of a Red Clay Rambler Podcast I have a double interview featuring Brian Harper and Carole Epp. In the first segment, I talk with Carole about her work on the book The Crafted Dish. In the second segment, I talk with sculptor Brian Harper. He creates complex architectural forms by joining thousands of premade modular ceramic units. The scaffold-like forms are built around commercial ceramic objects that represent the uniform predictability of high-volume, low-cost manufacturing. In the interview, we talk about the concept behind his sculptures, the easing of his political anxieties though creativity, and the mission of Art Axis, a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization that Brian founded to promote the professional pursuits of artists in the field of ceramics. Brian is an Associate Professor of Fine Art and the head of the Ceramics Program at Indiana University Southeast, and is the Executive Director of Artaxis.org.

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191: Sue Tirrell on developing narrative imagery on clay

Today on the Tales of a Red Clay Rambler Podcast I have an interview with Sue Tirrell. Her functional pots feature animal and landscape imagery created with underglaze and sgraffito drawing.  She uses a recurring cast of barn yard animals to create simple narratives that speak to the humor and complexity of human relationships.

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190: Learning to fire the Mill Creek Anagama

Today on the Tales of a Red Clay Rambler Podcast I have a panel discussion with Liz Myers, Kaden Meyrs, Krista Botsford, Paul Stokstad, Trever Foss, and Carter Pasma. The group of potters participated in a two-week wood firing workshop with Simon Levin at his Mill Creek Pottery in Gresham, WI. In the interview, we talk about collaborative learning and the multiday process of loading/firing an Anagama kiln.

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189: Jacob Meer and Ian Connors on their apprenticeship experience

Today on the Tales of a Red Clay Rambler Podcast I have an interview with Jacob Meer and Ian Connors. The two are connected through apprenticeship training with Simon Levin and specialize in wood firing. In the interview, we talk about the value of an apprenticeship, living in rural Wisconsin and learning to fire wood kilns.

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188: Simon Levin on understanding the dynamics of wood firing

Today on the Tales of a Red Clay Rambler Podcast I have an interview with Simon Levin. His interest in wood firing has led to over 20 years of active research into Anagama, Cross draft and Train style kilns. He uses the turbulent flame path inside these kilns to create rich surfaces on his ceramic vessels.

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185: Tyler Lotz on the circular nature of creativity

Today on the Tales of a Red Clay Rambler Podcast I have an interview with Tyler Lotz. An accomplished vessel maker and sculptor Lotz often uses geometric tessellations and modular units in his work. His work spans a variety of scales from intimate handheld pottery to four-foot tall sculptures. In the interview, we talk about cultivating patience while planning a new body of work, exploring the same content from multiple angles, and how teaching feeds his studio practice

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184: Birdie Boone on the emotional qualities of color

Today on the Tales of a Red Clay Rambler Podcast I have an interview with Birdie Boone. Working from her studio in Abingdon, VA she creates hand built tableware glazed in rich translucent colors. Her research into rare earth colorants has led to a broad spectrum of colors that are uniquely subtle and emotionally impactful.

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183: Live story telling from Kansas City!

Today on the Tales of a Red Clay Rambler Podcast I have a special live episode taped at KC Urban Potter’s Midwest Pottery Fest. Guest host Mo Dicken’s guides ten storytellers through their stories about the ceramic community, including hilarious tales of street fairs gone wrong and spooky haunted studios. Don’t miss this special recording taped live at the Drug Store in Kansas City, MO!

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