Converse ceramists thank Ian

This guest post is written by David Zacharias, Associate Professor of Art and Coordinator of the Studio Art Program at Converse College. In January 2011, AiR Ian Shelly did a wheel-throwing demo for Prof. Zacharias’ class.

Ian demos wheel-throwing

During January, Ian Shelly arrived in the Converse College ceramics studios to conduct a two-day workshop. The workshop was held in conjunction with a special topics course called Teapots and Candlesticks. Ian came early, prepared to produce numerous tea sets. The first day was spent at the wheel as Ian produced the parts necessary for assembling 4 teapots, 6 cups with saucers, 3 lidded sugar bowls and a lidded cream pitcher. Throughout the day, students watched Ian work and interacted with him, all the while working on their own teapots and/or candlesticks. While Ian demonstrated, a constant banter was exchanged with students and me.

Ian spent most of the second day trimming the bodies of the vessels previously constructed, assembling the parts and adding handles. Spouts were attached, knobs were added to lids and handles were made and blended into the bodies of the various forms. Lastly, all pieces received incised lines that flowed around the forms. The end result was a shocking number of pieces that were all inter-related by the anthropomorphic qualities that Ian incorporated into each. Completing all this work a bit early, Ian then visited each student in the class, to individually discuss and critique the work that each was producing.

All of the students were very favorably impacted by Ian during the two days we all spent together. As the second day came to an end, Ian asked if he would be welcomed to come back to join us in our final critique of the course. The students and I agreed that this would be a good thing. On the last day of the term, Ian joined us to look over all the students’ work and participate in the critique.

Every aspect of my interaction with Ian Shelley was favorable. Our discussions prior to the actual workshop, his demonstrating and interacting with everyone during the workshop and his visit afterward were first-rate and professional in every way. It was a pleasure to have Ian at Converse.


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