Thursday, December 13, 2012

Hui Holidays: Ceramics Takes Center Stage

Hui Senior Programs Manager Anne-Marie Forsythe enjoying the Hui Holidays Pottery Sale

View of the Hui's ceramics studio, powered by solar energy!

Hui teaching artist Bob Flint teaching a ceramics class
Since opening on November 19th, Hui No’eau Visual Arts Center’s annual “Hui Holidays” tradition has welcomed hundreds of new visitors to its public Kaluanui Estate campus. One of 8 annual exhibitions in the historic home, Hui Holidays features a wide and whimsical range of artwork and gifts set at accessible prices. Talented members of our local artists’ community have created unique work in jewelry, ceramics, prints, fiber, photography, glass and paintings, plus handmade ornaments and much more, with sales supporting the educational programs of this nonprofit visual arts center.

Ask the majority of the Hui’s new guests what prompted them through the Hui gates and you’ll find that they are largely ceramics enthusiasts, “we saw the pottery sale sign outside! Which way do we go?” It’s thrilling to see such enthusiasm for this age-old art form, offering a great way to engage folks in what has evolved to be one of the Hui’s most wildly popular programs.

One attribute that sets the ceramics program apart from the other core Hui arts programs is the consistent buzz of energy in the studio; ceramicists and firing techs trading technical tips, discussions comparing ceramics in different parts of the world, friends catching up on missed sessions, and the general goings-on of an arts subculture; a talented group of artists bound together by a common purpose- to unlock their creativity- to form their own community.

“The Hui ceramics program offers an environment of constant creativity and continual innovation through its numerous classes, workshops, and Open Studio Program, in the most well facilitated ceramics studio available for public use on Maui,” says Deb Zaleski, the Hui’s ceramics studio manager, “Our members share and exchange ideas and experiences in an open forum setting, and continue to experiment with a variety of forming, glazing and firing techniques, offering endless possibilities while encouraging inspiration and personal expression.”

Most people, when they hear the word ceramics, think dinnerware and tiles. While these traditional products have been and continue to be important, a new class of ceramics has emerged- sculptural, provocative, nonfunctional forms that inspire narrative and initiate dialogue. Earlier this year, the Hui presented a retrospective exhibition of ceramicist Jennifer Owen's work, an artist who’s “Hui History” began in 1982.  She recalls coming in for an interview with Rob Spenser (“I got so dressed up, I had no idea what I was in for!”) to talk about a teaching gig and left with a position that would have her heading the ceramics department for the next 23 years. She hand drew a sign for a pottery class and found it easy to sign people up for 5 – 8 week sessions. “It was a real ‘ohana, a home away from home for so many of us that were looking for studio space and new ideas” she recalls, “we slowly built structure into a formal ceramics program; we designed rules in cooperation with the Hui arts administrators, held monthly meetings and work days, built tables, paved the stable floors, and we taught everyone that wanted to learn.”

When asked how Owen felt about sharing her retrospective body of work with the Hui community this year, she responded, “I’m very excited about the people that are just becoming a part of this place. The Hui is the best community of artists on Maui where all those exchanges can happen. This is such an incredible environment. Coming here as an artist is also spending time in one of the most beautiful places on the island, and it's forever changing and evolving. For those that have not been here before: you’re in for a surprise!”

We hope you will join us in viewing our spectacular Hui Holidays pottery pieces- and much more. Open every day from 10 am – 4 pm until December 24, with gallery items evolving each week at 2841 Baldwin Avenue in Makawao.  Admission is free.

No comments:

Post a Comment