Saturday, March 04, 2006

I-Thou: Connections in Clay - Ceramic Work by Chad Martin

I-Thou: Connections in Clay postcardChad Martin is displaying about twenty-five ceramic pieces he has made in a month-long exhibit at the Pittsburgh Theological Seminary, 616 N. Highland Ave. The exhibit "I-Thou: Connections in Clay" is in the Kelso Bible Lands Museum at the Seminary, and will run until March 31, 2006.

On March 18, from 2 to 4 the exhibit will include free ceramic demonstrations, hands-on clay projects, and museum tours. This would be a good day for families to visit.

While I was visiting the exhibit yesterday evening, I met Scott Holland, pastor of the Monroeville Church of the Brethren, and a professor at the Bethany Theological Seminary in Richmond, Indiana. He pointed out how intriguing it was to see pieces made over the last two years side by side the museum's year-round exhibit of archeological finds. Some of Martin's pieces were made with very old techniques, but some were more modern.

Martin describes his childhood experience of the creative process, saying "I learned to believe that I could shape the world around me, that I am capable — that everyone is capable — of making something beautiful out of the hodge-podge world that surrounds me."

Martin is writing a thesis on aesthetic theology in the Master of Arts Program at Pittsburgh Theological Seminary, and expects to graduate in May. A 1998 graduate of Goshen College, he has lived in Pittsburgh for eight years, is a founding board member of the Union Project, and has taught at Manchester Craftsmen's Guild and the Pittsburgh Center for the Arts.

He says that one of the reasons he makes things by hand is that handmade objects "invite the potential for turning everyday life into sacred, celebrative moments."

He also discusses the experience of creation saying, "My hands know things in ways my head cannot."

Conjoined forms
The piece "Conjoined forms" was intriguing on its own, appearing to be a jar emerging from or merging into a curved rectangular slab. But notice the shadow cast by the overhead lighting on the wall behind it. Is that possibly the shadow of a hand reaching down? Is it an accident of lighting, or a reminder of God's involvement in the creative process, or both?

three red squares and three grey squares.JPG
There was an interesting contrast between two platters. On the left was a Majolica platter with three red squares. On the right was a Raku platter with three grey squares.

offering bowls and pitcher
Tea for Two and Glossy Vase
large vase
two lidded boxes
To schedule a tour of the museum, call 412-441-3304 x 2276.

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