In conjunction with the Weisman’s exhibition, A Culture of Pots, the WAM Shop is selling one-of-a-kind pieces by University of Minnesota student ceramicists. WAM Collective member Lauren Gengler sat down with junior Cassi Miesner, Vice President of the Ceramics Collective (and Visitor Services Representative at WAM!) to discuss her artistic process and relationship with clay.
Who and what is the Ceramics Collective?
The Ceramics Collective is a group of students and alumni that are interested in clay as a medium for creative expression. As a Collective, we aim to question standards and push the boundaries between craft and fine art. We are interested in exploring and experimenting with the relationship between functional and conceptual art in ceramics.
How did you get started with Ceramics?
I began my journey with ceramics in middle school and instantly fell in love with the processes and technicalities of working with clay. When I came to the U, I joined the Ceramics Collective and it has given me amazing opportunities – including a trip to Portland, Oregon, to attend the National Council on Education for the Ceramic Arts (NCECA). I was nervous about the trip at first, I didn’t know everyone in the Ceramics Collective very well yet, and I wasn’t sure what to expect since I had never been to NCECA before. The trip turned out to be so much fun, the members of the Ceramics Collective were so inclusive and welcoming and friendly. We saw a variety of work from so many different artists and it was really inspiring and refreshing. I returned home with so many new ideas and projects to work on, as well as a new group of supportive friends to share my passion with.
Where do you find inspiration?
I’m inspired by all things bright and lively- from my garden of fruits and veggies to the wonderful people in my community. I think of my pots as little creatures with their own personalities, and every time I sell a piece they find a new home.
Tell us about your pieces that are currently featured in the WAM Shop:
My ceramics work is mainly functional pieces with unique personalities. I love creating pots for plants, pitchers, and mugs (the only thing I love more than coffee is a good mug). Much of my work featured in the shop focuses on surface design, including drawings with the use of underglaze pencil.
What other kinds of opportunities does the Ceramics Collective provide?
The Ceramics Collective advocates for artistic growth by providing opportunities such as artist studio visits, ceramics sales, critiques, and annual trips to NCECA. There is a student-run sale every semester and the money raised goes towards funding opportunities like studio visits and trips to NCECA. We strive to be involved with the arts community in the Twin Cities and believe in supporting our fellow local artists.
How can other students get involved?
The Ceramics Collective is always welcoming new members and holds weekly meetings during the fall and spring semesters. Find more info about how to get involved on our website. We look forward to hearing from you!
Lauren Gengler is a third year from Wisconsin working on majors in Art and Journalism. She currently works at the WAM as a gallery guard. She spends most of her free time dancing around the kitchen, cooking noodles, eating entire avocados, and listening to the Hamilton soundtrack on repeat.