Ceramic art pieces from the 7th Biennial Central Time Ceramics exhibit: Part 1. Unlidded vessels and platters.

Photos and reporting by Robert Kokenyesi, Ceramic Artist, Beachfront Pottery, Godfrey, IL, 62035, USA.  If you enjoyed this post, then like the post, and also like my Facebook page.      There is additional information about Beachfront Pottery on my web site.

The Venue

The “7th Biennial Central Time Ceramic exhibit” took place from March 9 through April 17, 2020, in two galleries on the campus of Bradley University in Peoria, Illinois. The exhibit closed early because of the COVID-19-related shelter in place orders by the State of Illinois.

This is the entrance to the Hartmann Center, the location of one of the galleries.




This is the gallery space inside the Hartmann Center.







This the gallery space inside the Heuser Art Center Gallery, the second gallery hosting this ceramic exhibit.






The Call for Entry

The call for entry read like this: “This exhibition is open to all ceramic artists over the age of 18, who currently reside in the Central Time Zone. Central Time Zone states include: Alabama, Arkansas, Florida, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Missouri, Mississippi, Minnesota, Nebraska, North Dakota, South Dakota, Oklahoma, Tennessee, Texas and Wisconsin; however not all counties within these states are within the Central Time Zone.  Artists who reside in areas of Canada and Mexico that are within the Central Time Zone are also eligible.”

The Ceramic Art Pieces

The COVID-19 related shelter in place order in the State of Illinois lead to the early closing of the Bradley University campus galleries.  I was fortunate to make it to the campus the day before the state orders, and look at this great collection of ceramic art pieces. I apologize to those artists whose artworks I might have not photographed during my hurried visit to Bradley University.

In Part 1 I report on unlidded vessels and platters. Part 2 will be about lidded vessels. Part 3 will be about figurative sculptural pieces. Part 4 will be about abstract sculptural pieces.

“passing through” by Shannon Blakey, Columbia, MO


I couldn’t find a dedicated online presence for her. This statement is from the 23rd San Angelo Museum of Art Ceramic Competition. “I am mining and reforming objects found in my own life in order to investigate current culture. All of these selected objects, man made or natural, existed within my daily life as a result of me simply trying to live it, but were selected for both aesthetic and symbolic reasons.






“Mug and Saucer” by Will McComb, Oxford, MS


His artist statement id waiting for an update on his web site.  For more of his work check out his web site.









“Purple and Green Platter” by Tracy Burton, Chicago, IL

Her statement reads: “My work is functional and meant to be used. I work in clay because it allows me to focus on form and function as well as the decorative surface. I love to incorporate bright color and texture, be it smooth or rough to help tell a visual story. Every unique piece holds a story abstractly expressed through color choices, printed, painted and carved(sgraffito) designs. The sgraffito designs I create stem from design elements and principles and extensive studies in art history. My subject matter is influenced by life experiences as a woman, teacher, daughter, sister, wife, traveler, cancer patient caregiver and artist.” For more of her works check out her web site and her instagram profile.


“Sprigged Pitcher” by Joyce St. Clair Voltz, Cedar Rapids, IA


Her statement on her page at Red Lodge Clay Center reads, in part,: “I believe in the celebration of a robust femininity. The exchange between volume and ornament, delicacy and substantially distinguishes the relationship between culturally persistent ideals of femininity and what I understand to be my own sense of the feminine. A robust femininity informs the relationship between form and surface in my work. Robustness conveys strength through fullness and power; femininity is womanliness yet culturally synonymous with fragility and grace.”   For more of her works check out her web site.





“Vessel Form # 172” by G.E Colpitts, Belvidere, IL
“Vessel Form # 167” by G.E. Colpitts, Belvidere, IL


I couldn’t find an artist statement or a dedicated online presence for her. Here is her quote from the page her college maintains: “In design, there are no magic formulas. There are only relationships. There are only degrees.”




“Red Column” by Eric Ordway, Columbia, MO

His statement reads: “My work explores a foundational urge to create through the lens of my faith. I examine Judeo-Christian art theory concepts through functional pottery. Ancient cultures used the term “doxa” to mean both “belief” and “glory.” These dual definitions appear in contemporary ideas of orthodoxy–“a true belief”–and doxology–“an expression of praise.” Each vessel presents the new and old doxa: columns reach for boldness to approach the Creator, bowls long to serve, cups seek to commune, and platters embody the process of life. These themes are expressed through simple ceramic forms, my touch as a maker in the materiality of the work, and how the clay bears all the marks of the process. Doxa reminds us of timeless truths: that the glorious can be found in the mundane, the divine in the common.  The work consists of stoneware clay that has been fired at high temperatures in atmospheric and gas kilns. This surface treatment exhibits the transition of flame and ash across the vessel. Putting the kiln into a heavy reduction encourages the dark colors that contrasts the subtleties of the flashing slips and glazes. The drama of these surfaces are used as a metaphor, that of a relationship with a Divine Mystery. Each shift and transition of the flame is recorded on the pot as it holds this metaphor of the Divine in my life.  For more of his works check out his web site.


“Sushi Sets” by Paul Eshelman, Elizabeth, IL

His statement from this Clayakar page reads, in part,: “Culture has been defined as what we make of the world. My pots enter an age noted for frenzied activity and visual distraction. This world fragments our lives in profound ways. Functional pottery is my cultural attempt, through the material of clay, to bring order and human dignity to the merely physical act of consuming food and drink. As my pots are used daily, my hope is that they carry measures of quiet and nourishment for body and spirit. I imagine people at a dinner table, work space, or office cubicle where food and drink are served and humanized by a hospitable, well-ordered pot.” For more of his work visit his web site.


“Wood Fired Pitcher” by Susan Messer McBride, Chicago, IL

Her statement reads: “Hands touching clay, I am truly alive: Soul, spirit, body, connected. Clay forms can speak to us as we eat, drink, and view the world around us. This inspires me, at the wheel where I am centered and connected to Earth, to create functional vessels that live and breathe.  The intersection of natural and urban environments inspires my surface treatment choices: Tangled vines, leaves, grasses, and weeds demonstrate both fragility and power over the human world. I use several clay bodies and experiment with atmospheric firing methods as I learn, make and teach on my journey with clay.” To see more of her works visit her web site.





“Dunegal vs Fu Manchu” by Chris Leonard, McAllen, TX

His statement reads: “Just what am I making? If I were decidedly effective in my artistic endeavors through action and energy I’d arrive at a sensation of elemental power. The twenty-first century in America, there are so many choices! But are these choices always clear? I seem to find myself meandering off into symbolic meaning, metaphysical speculation, technical tribulations and contemplative moods. As soon as I answer one question and solve a problem another three or five invariably show up. What I want is a smile on the face, a twinkle in the eye, a healthy glow in the gut, and maybe even a friend to confide in. If I don’t have these things, I’ve decided to make them. Allusions to specific concerns and events may be more apparent in the unfolding work as current events, personal preoccupations and political upheaval push memory, imagination, and observation into new areas. Two cats in the yard: Life still is pretty difficult if you can’t land on your feet. ” For more of his works check out his web site and his Instagram profile.


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