Photo and text by Robert Kokenyesi, Ceramic Artist, Beachfront Pottery, Godfrey, IL 62035, USA.
Between March 6 and April 7, 2017, in the Donald D. Shook Fine Arts Building at the campus of St Charles Community College, in the town of St Charles, Missouri, hosted the annual faculty art exhibit. The exhibit pieces were on the walls of the long hallway outside of the theater. Pedestals and glass cabinets were set up there as well. The only ceramic artist on the exhibit was Craig Hoffman. I saw his works in the Constructed Visions, II exhibit at the St Louis Artists; Guild earlier this year. At this exhibit I had some more time to pay attention to these large vases.
The three pictures above show several angles of one of the vases by Craig. As he tells us on his website, he uses coil construction and subsequent shaping to achieve the form. And it’s the form that gets you first. Substantial, but still delicate body of a vase with an unexpectedly shaped opening. This vase has an opening like you would see on a pitcher. The other unexpected shaping of the opening is the deep indentation which makes the top of the vase looks like it has two parts to it. All of this appears with very smooth lines, and a very smooth surface.
Craig uses variable degrees of burnishing to treat the surface of the coiled vase. At some places the surface still looks a little layered, like you might be able to see a hint of the coils on top of each other. He also states on his web site that he uses iron oxide wash or Miracle Grow as surface treatment. I’m not sure which of those he might have used on this vase. The overall look of the surface is between a matt and a shiny surface. Coupled with the stone color, and the hint of coiling layers, the vase creates the impression that it was carved from a rock, maybe a limestone rock.
This was the other vase on exhibit from Craig. Very similar surface looks, and very similar, graceful construction. Here the bottom third of the vase is wide, and a longer, narrower neck takes up the second third. The vase has three segments to it when you look from the top. Each segment is a semicircle/oval. The beginning of these segments are best seen from the top. Unfortunately, the piece was enclosed in a glass cabinet, so I couldn’t take a photo directly top down, but I think you see enough on this shot.
This vase just like the other was untitled, so we are missing many of the immediate thoughts, the motivators and direct influencers behind these two good looking vases. I look forward to specific narratives on future exhibits.