The Claybody Club at UAA is hosting their yearly showing of work in the Student Union Gallery featuring pieces that are astonishing, insightful and even political. Ranging from beginner artists with little experience with clay to long time 3D art enthusiasts, the Claybody Ceramic Invitational is a chance for students in the sculptural ceramics and wheel throwing classes to present their work to the community of UAA.
Gallery Manager Jade Aldridge, also a member of the Claybody Club, talked about the Invitational as she individually hand-glued dead, preserved honey bees onto a nature-themed piece in the entryway.
“We have a little bit of a more morbid undertone, a little angsty I think,” said Aldridge, art major, “3D work is always kind of under-shown, I think painting and 2D works are more commonly done and maybe there’s a sort of intimidating aspect to 3D work because it seems like it’s so different and maybe harder to do, but I don’t think so at all; I think it’s actually easier to do in some ways because you can look at something at all angles and work on it.”
Alridge said that along with the Claybody Invitational, clay-based art has been in the spotlight recently at UAA. Before Claybody, Convergence, a show of four ceramic artists was available at the gallery and after Claybody, Girdwood artist Maya Daniel will have a solo show entitled “Unprotected.”
Artists at UAA interested in working with clay and other types of 3D art can join Claybody Club to work on art, be in-the-know about art and clay art activities and showings in Anchorage, as well as be surrounded by artistic and creative fellow-minded students.
“Everyone in the club is either pursuing an art degree and they’re focusing on ceramics, or they just really enjoy doing ceramics on the side, or they’re continuing students who have already graduated who really like working with clay,” said Aldridge. “In the club we host sales, and we know what’s going on in the community involving ceramics. We go to conferences like the upcoming spring NSECA Conferences which is the biggest ceramics conference in the US and it’s full of vendors and artists and lots of talks and the galleries wherever it’s happening are chock full of ceramics. It’s a really educational and inspiring thing.”
An important facet of being an artist is being able to share their work with other artists and the community as a whole. Andrea Moore, President of the Claybody Ceramics Club explained how the Invitational gives students an opportunity to share.
“We try to have the invitational once a year and it gives the students a chance to show what they’re working on,” said Moore, ceramics major. “It’s all about people getting a chance to see pottery and sculpture and the entire array of what 3D art is. The Invitational helps put a spotlight back on ceramics and showing what great program we have at UAA both in classes and with the Claybody Club. We have great teachers that are supportive and helpful. Everyone knows about painting but ceramics isn’t talked about as much, and I like the the showing because it really does get people talking about clay art more.”
Moore created both the Donald Trump clown piece, “Trumpin’ Around” as well the pig piece, “Chauvinistic Chauffeur” that seem very lifelike in suits and ties.
“I like both the pieces I created in this show but Trump seems to be one of my favorites,” said Moore about “Trumpin’ Around.” “For the makeup I used John Wayne Gacy the serial killer makeup on him; it’s supposed to be a little bit of a play whats going in politics right now.”
Moore used bamboo and soy silk for the hair on the piece, spending about a month to create it. “Trumpin’ Around” and “Chauvinistic Chauffuer” are both for sale and priced at $800. The Chauffeur took about three weeks for Moore to complete.
“The pig is kind of where I started with my work, it was one of my first ones. I created it for an anamorphic project and I had a lot of fun with it. I normally focus on two pieces at a time but occasionally I commit to one piece for a long period of time to dedicate as much time as possible to it.”
Alyssa Albright, an employee at downtown Anchorage art studio Sevigny Studio, explained why 3D art is such a unique and important art form.
“I think art and ceramics are good because it’s something you can touch and feel and really use in a tangible way,” said Albright. “It has actual dimensions to it, and you can pick it up and use it, and it’s an art form that’s different from paintings or drawings. Also no pieces of pottery are ever the same and they’re very unique.”
Art has the ability to bring people together and create a sense of community because of the way it allows for tangible and long-lasting forms of self-expression, which is why creating an art and being an artist is often a deeply personal experience. Aldridge encouraged artists at UAA to get involved with student organizations.
“I think that just being a student on campus, it’s important to find clubs that are in your niche that cater to the things you’re interested in. Claybody is what I like and it creates a community here at UAA.”
Check out the Claybody Ceramic Invitational until Feb. 27. The gallery is open Monday through Thursday from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. and on Friday from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.