Released: October 14, 2010
Lincoln, Neb. - Lincoln artist and recent University of Nebraska-Lincoln alumnus, Susan Dewsnap, received Best of Show in the prestigious 18th Annual Strictly Functional Pottery National. Her piece "Lidded Jar" won the top honor in this highly juried exhibition of some of the finest examples of functional pottery in the United States.
"I was surprised," Dewsnap said. "It's an honor to have one's work recognized amongst all these wonderful potters."
Images of work were submitted for jurying in June. More than 350 potters submitted more than 1,000 works. Juror Bill van Glider, a professional potter for more than 30 years and founder/director of the Frederick Pottery School in Maryland, selected work from 88 artists to be in the exhibition. Final jurying was completed on Oct. 1 after the exhibition opened at Kevin Lehman's Pottery in Lancaster, Pa. The exhibition continues through Nov. 14. Five additional artists with ties to UNL were also juried into the exhibition, including alumni Monica Ripley (M.F.A. 2003), Seth Green (M.F.A. 2009) and Amy Smith (M.F.A. 2001), as well as Mark Cole and Dandee Patee, who both did post-bachelor work at UNL.
"I felt in good company amongst such a strong UNL showing," Dewsnap said.
Hixson-Lied Professor of Art Gail Kendall said Dewsnap was one of the top graduate ceramists in the program.
"Susan was one of our star graduate students," Kendall said. "She entered our program with her Bachelor of Fine Arts degree in painting, but graduated as a highly original voice in contemporary ceramics. It's difficult to be 'original' in a field that is more than 7,500 years old, but she is."
Dewsnap began working in ceramics in the mid-1990s. "Having studied painting as an undergraduate, I think what initially attracted me was all the physicality involved-working in clay, making clay, making glazes, loading and firing the kilns, as well as the unpredictable part of the process, which occurs during the firing in the kiln, though it can just as often be a disappointment as a reward.
"Now, my attraction is more limited to the object itself, playing with the shifting balance between the form and the drawn/painted surface-that is enough," Dewsnap said.
She made "Lidded Jar" last spring. "It's a one-of-a-kind jar," she said. "The form appears to be rather simple, allowing for an active surface. It can be used, but it may be enough just to look at it."
In 2009, Dewsnap had her piece, "Four Small Plates" accepted into The 5th World Ceramic Biennale 2009 in Korea. Dewsnap teaches ceramics in the Department of Art and Art History at UNL. She was an assistant to Kendall at the Penland School of Crafts in 2007 and was an assistant to Chris Staley at the Haystack Mountain School in 2005.
She received her Master of Fine Arts in ceramics from UNL in 2008 and her Bachelor of Fine Arts in painting from the University of New Hampshire in 1984. Her work will be included in the 36th Annual Invitational Pottery Show and Sale at The Art School at Old Church in Demarest, N.J., in December.