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2020 Planning Meeting

Can you believe it’s already almost April? And that means that 2020 is right around the corner!

As you know, 2020 marks the 40th year of Clayworks’ bringing the joy of clay to the Baltimore area community. If you joined our 2020 Blast Off planning meeting last month, you know that a bunch of fabulous ideas came out of a lively discussion, and now our calendar for 2020 is starting to come together with a fun list of ways to celebrate this hallmark year.

Our next 2020 planning meeting will be on Thursday, April 11 from 5:30-6:30. The goal of this meeting is to start looking at events and logistics, and to begin to assign tasks and make timelines. Please come with your enthusiasm and the desire to roll up your sleeves.

If you are one of those fabulous brainstorming, big-idea people – we love you and your creativity! Please feel free to put any big ideas you have for 2020 in writing and email them to me or another member of Clayworks staff.

2020 will be here soon, and if you have done any event planning, you know that large-scale events take time and energy. In a dream world, we would have started this planning last year, but Clayworks has been busy these past few years accomplishing great things. Which is all the more reason to celebrate!

Please RSVP to info@baltimoreclayworks.org. We hope to see you there.

Cyndi Wish
Baltimore Clayworks Executive Director

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Opening of New Exhibitions

EXHIBITIONS: Keystone Clay: East, Baltimore Clayworksforce Development Program Inaugural Show

LOCATION: Baltimore Clayworks, 5707 Smith Ave., Baltimore, MD 21209

DATES: January 12th – March 2nd, 2019; Opening Reception: January 19th from 6-8pm

HOURS: Monday – Friday: 10am – 4pm, Saturday – Sunday: 11am – 4pm

CONTACT: Mary Cloonan, Baltimore Clayworks Curator of Exhibitions, mary.cloonan@baltimoreclayworks.org

 

Baltimore Clayworks is excited to host Keystone Clay: East from January 12thto March 2nd, 2019. Opening reception will be Saturday, January 19thfrom 6-8pm.

This is the first of two exhibitions showcasing the ceramic programs at Pennsylvania colleges and universities. Our three Galleries will be displaying work from the professors and their students side by side, highlighting the ceramic education and inspiration. East will feature work by artists from Millersville University, Moore College of Art and Design, Philadelphia University of the Arts, Tyler School of Art and Westchester University. West will be from March 16th– May 11th, 2019 with Arcadia University, Edinboro University, Indiana University of Pennsylvania, Juniata College, Penn State, Slippery Rock University and Shippensburg University.

There are many reasons for this theme. Oftentimes, teachers are so focused on their students, fostering skills, maintaining the classroom that one’s own studio practice is neglected or Call for Entries slip by. Or the cost of applying and shipping to a show is too much for a student, so perhaps this will be their first exhibition…of many. New educational models are in place with post-baccalaureate students and adjuncts sharing the classroom responsibilities with tenured professors and Clayworks would like to celebrate those contributions.

Clayworks really wants to support those emerging artists. Our mission is to “develop, promote and sustain” artistic talent, whether that is in our own classrooms and community or with our neighbors to the North. In addition, we hope our proximity will encourage those students to visit us, to be introduced to our organization and facilities (Wood kiln!) and perhaps encourage them to apply for a residency or internship, so in turn we can bolster that facet of our programing.

We are envisioning and exhibition that will showcase a student’s success that a teacher helped bring into fruition. Celebrate the artistic growth they have nurtured, whether being expressed in functional wares, large scale sculpture, intriguing installations and any ideas in between.

Also on display will be Baltimore Clayworksforce Development Program Inaugural Show from January 11thto March 2nd, 2019. There will be a soft opening reception on Friday, January 11thfrom 1-2:30.

Baltimore Clayworks Community Arts program has partnered with Baltimore City Public Schools Transition Services of the Office of Special Education to create a new, innovative classroom where students explore creative ceramic practices along with developing skills they can apply to future work environments. The youth in this program are between the ages of sixteen and twenty-one and are new to ceramics. Over the past few months they have developed fundamental ceramic skills along with a knowledge of studio maintenance, firing practices and glazing. The students have had a chance to develop their fine motor skills and practice articulating and discussing their creative process in addition to developing a basic understanding of ceramic techniques. Along with the art work, students’ artist statements are on display throughout the space.

Both exhibitions are free and open to the public

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Doug Baldwin, in Memoriam

The entire Baltimore Clayworks community is saddened by the death on Monday, December 10 of our friend and colleague.

Doug Baldwin, famous for his whimsical duck sculptures (duck stadiums, ducks playing games, ducks in studios) was professor of ceramics at Maryland Institute College of Art for 34 years. After retiring, Doug returned to his beloved home state of Montana, lived near his daughter and grandchildren, and became active in the life of The Clay Studio of Missoula. While in Baltimore, Doug engaged many of his ceramics students with the work of Baltimore Clayworks through internships, community teaching and events, keeping the two institutions connected, lively and mutually supportive. Arrangements for a celebration of Doug’s life are incomplete at this time.

Remembering Doug Baldwin: 1939 – 2018

Dec 15, 2018 for the National Council for the Education of Ceramic Arts

Doug Baldwin. Our Doug. Our Duck Man. How can it be that there will be no more red clay ducks in falling from his fingertips? Who will tell the stories of how artists and other peculiar humans behave in all kinds of situations through the metaphor of a few hundred ducks, or a few thousand ducks? Or maybe a million ducks? Doug, you left us too soon with the present stories of our time still needing your narrative.

Doug’s warmth, humor and keen awareness of the human condition gave voice to so many of us again and again as ducks large, small and in multitudes acted out our experiences.  His Great Duck Pottery School Series speaks to students and makers who have had a life in ceramics, portraying our first sad attempts at throwing bowls and firing kilns. We are able to laugh at ourselves, our teachers and  our colleagues with him, a warm and gentle laugh, a knowing chuckle. We are able to enjoy sports and games not as static sculptural statements, but as immediately engaged participants, and enjoying the familiarity and foibles of ourselves and our fellow humans, even if we are created by Doug Baldwin as just ducks.

Doug was wholeheartedly committed to the studio, making art every day, making the ducks and their environments all the time. But the making was not a solitary pursuit for Doug; it was, like the finished pieces, a shared pursuit.  And sharing that joy of making infused Doug’s life and interactions with everyone he touched. Here in Baltimore, Doug cheerfully, readily, shared the resources, his professional networks and the students of Maryland Institute College of Art with Baltimore Clayworks and scores of other artists and organizations.  He connected institutions by sending  interns to work and learn in community settings. He held gatherings in his home for artists to show images and talk about their work.  Doug not only created communities of ducks, he created communities of artists and students. national and international, united by clay.

Volker Schoenfliess, a Baltimore Clayworks co-founder, sculptor, and head of ceramics at Baltimore School for the Arts remembers, ”He was a kind and quirky influence. I never had him as an instructor, but met him through the clay circuit. I remember the events he held at his Bolton Hill home, and once had the honor of being invited to give a slide presentation of my work there. Thank you Doug.”

A particularly significant collaboration took place in 1992  when three Baltimore institutions-Maryland Institute, Baltimore Clayworks and the Contemporary Museum- joined forces to site Jimmy Clark’s brilliantly curated “Contemporary East European Ceramics” in the former St. Stanislaus Convent.  Doug had travelled extensively in Eastern Europe, and took a special  interest in hosting artists Jindra Vikova (Czech Republic) and Czelaw Podlesny (Poland), involving them with Baltimore’s communities and Maryland Institute students.  This phenomenal exhibition and its programs with the artists were visited by more than 2,500 individuals over a six week period. One Saturday evening Doug called the organizers to let us know that Jindra was hosting a breakfast the next morning in her apartment, and that we must come. When we arrived, we found a beaming Doug seated with Jindra and her husband, Pavel Banka, at the kitchen table with only some paper plates and plastic cups, a  large Braunsweiger sausage, a knife  and a bottle of Jim Beam.  Jindra announced, “We are having a little Viskey Brunch.” Doug with a benevolent smile proudly said, “This was all her idea.” And we joined in!

Encouraging people to move forward with an individual vision, without judgement but with an inclusive spirit was a hallmark of Doug’s teaching and professional interactions. Whether preparing to attend NCECA, frequently in the company of Dennis Parks and Verne Funk, and finding ways to get students to the conference, collaborating on an exhibition with Baltimore Clayworks, or teaching a room full of undergraduate first- time clay students, Doug’s attitude and his stance was to give things a try and see what happens. He would say about most things – “don’t worry too much about technique”.

Ron Lang, Doug’s colleague and co-conspirator in clay at Maryland Institute framed it this way,  “ He was an inspirational muse for four decades of devoted students at MICA. Doug’s teaching made space for the students to really be themselves and in doing so, he gave them permission to be more authentic and to take bigger risks.”

Kim Robledo, now a program director at Cooper-Hewitt, the Smithsonian’s design museum in New York, says of her undergraduate years (1991-95) as a ceramics major with Doug, “ Doug always encouraged the possible. I guess when a man spends his clay career making thousands of ducks, he has the power to make you believe there is no idea that clay cannot explore. I thank Doug for giving me this gift as an artist. I also thank him for showing me how to properly eat a Maryland crab.”

Anthony Stellachio, one of Doug’s students and the newly minted Director of Studio Potter and a member of  the  International Academy of Ceramics,  credits Doug with being a major career influence. He says, “Doug Baldwin is one of those people whom I think about and marvel at how my life might have been different without him. He connected me to Eastern Europe, a favorite haunt of his, and that has affected – even defined – my personal and professional life even today.”

“Doug didn’t do that because he was a larger than life personality who singled me out for my potential and decided to change my life. No, Doug was a humble and quiet man with a generous spirit. He believed in the potential of all of his students, and he did anything he could for them.  Well, he did everything he could for them except give us assignments. In fact, the only instruction he ever gave us as sophomores was to “fill up the table” with work. Doug trusted us, and he thought of us as artists. God bless him, some of us still are.

Regardless of the influence that Doug had on his students at Maryland Institute and artists here in Baltimore, Doug longed to be in his native Montana and always planned to retire there.  He did just that in 2004, moving close to his daughter Tracy and his grandchildren. That was where he felt grounded and alive. Doug was extremely productive in Montana and made numerous duck- populated pieces about “these Montana woodfiring potters”. He became involved with film and video, using this work as content. Once he called me to talk about The Clay Studio of Missoula, where he found a warm and welcoming community of like-minded makers who were down to earth and accepting. He was clearly at home in Missoula.

Doug and his ducks will forever remain a singular artistic legacy in the field of ceramics. But more than the actual physical genius of the work he leaves in the world, for those of us who knew and loved him, he leaves behind a legacy of all that is authentic, good and cherished in clay: a lifelong commitment to the studio, inspired and intentional teaching, and a genuine, unselfish impulse to advance the ceramic well being of others. Doug Baldwin set the bar much higher in his time among us.

Deborah Bedwell, ceramic artist

Founding Executive Director, Baltimore Clayworks

Past –President, NCECA (2012-2017)

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Join Us on the Road to 2019

Dear Clayworks Community,

It has been a truly phenomenal year at Baltimore Clayworks. As you probably know, in July of 2017, Clayworks closed its doors, displacing artists, art, students, children, and the spirit of this 38 year-old organization.

But Clayworks proved its resilience by reopening the doors in October of 2017. Over this past year, with immeasurable gratitude to the donors, foundations, civic leaders, volunteers, and visionaries that make up the Clayworks community, we paid off debts, reorganized leadership, and put out the numerous “fires” that led to the closing. Clayworks is back to stay with a full program of classes, workshops, exhibits, and events.

In addition to continuing to present superb classes and exhibitions with renowned ceramic artists, Clayworks plans to extend its community-wide programming through partnerships with Man Alive, The House of Ruth, Make Studio, and other social service agencies. Clayworks is also growing the youth programs utilizing clay to offer job training skills to children and young adults with cognitive disabilities. Our forthcoming purchase of a 3D printer will support STEM curriculum in programs to serve Baltimore’s public school students.

If you have ever been through a traumatic crisis; in your business, or personal life, or family, if you have ever had to call on all of your resources to fix a really big problem, then you know how the aftermath feels. Clayworks is finally in a position where it can take a deep breath and start thinking strategically about the future. As you can see, we have some exciting plans, and we need your help!

Please consider Baltimore Clayworks in your year-end giving. It’s been a tumultuous few years, during which the organization has proven its service to the community, and the community has proven its commitment to the organization. Your generous contribution will help Clayworks continue to stabilize as we move into the next 38 years.

The graphic below shows the impact of contribution levels; please know that your gift of any size is crucial to the sustainability of the organization, and we are so grateful for all gifts, large and small. You may donate online at our new and improved website, or, if you prefer to mail in your contribution, our address is listed below. Please note that Baltimore Clayworks is a 501c3 non-profit organization. Your gift is tax deductible and must be postmarked by Dec. 31 to qualify as a tax deduction for the present year.

We invite you to come visit us at any time to see the exhibits, meet the new resident artists, or just say hello. You would hardly know that the doors were closed a year ago – Clayworks is alive with joyous creative energy!

Thank you again!

Sincerely,

Susan Patz, Board President

Cyndi Wish, Executive Director

PS – Baltimore Clayworks participates in Maryland’s Community Investment Tax Credit program. Your donation of $500 or greater will be met by a 50% tax credit on your Maryland taxes. These tax credits are in addition to the deductions on both Federal and State taxes as a result of the charitable contribution. This opportunity is limited and will not be available in 2019. For questions and to obtain appropriate forms contact Mary Jo Kirschman – info@baltimoreclayworks.org.

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