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Arlynn Nobel

Arlynn Nobel

Faculty of Animation, Arts & Design

Degree: Crafts and Design - Ceramics

Year of graduation: 2005

The Magic of the Kiln

I currently work in the greater Boston area as a part-time Ceramics instructor at Harvard University. Since earning my Masters of Fine Arts in Ceramics from the University of Massachusetts – Dartmouth in 2011, I have begun establishing myself as an independent ceramic artist. My specialty is wheel-thrown functional ware with a strong sculptural component. In the summer of 2011, I was selected to participate in a group show at the Lacoste Gallery in Concord, MA, a well-known venue for high quality ceramics.

My early passion for clay has evolved into a lifelong love affair. When I am working at my wheel, the world seems to fall away and all other thoughts recede into the background. During the early years, throwing pots was also a powerful healing experience for me, a refuge from the pain and chaos that defined much of my youth.

My early ceramics education consisted of a scattering of college courses and an apprenticeship to a studio potter. I went on to set up a series of my own studios where I taught private beginners’ classes. My home and studio were on a rural property outside Thunder Bay. During this time, one of my most important links to the larger world of clay was through my subscriptions to ceramics publications. I first became aware of Bruce Cochrane and his work at Sheridan through articles in Ceramics Monthly. I felt an instant connection with Bruce’s art.

A few short years later, I found myself with a newly empty nest, living within commuting distance of Sheridan and with a strong desire to renew and intensify my commitment to ceramics. Enrolling for courses at Sheridan Ceramics under Bruce’s tutelage seemed like a natural and logical next step.

Sheridan College has long played an important role in my professional career: I apprenticed with Suzanne De clerq, one of the original graduates of the Ceramics program back in its pioneer days. Sheridan gave me the tools I needed as a functional potter, to unlock and actualize my creativity, strengthening and broadening both my technical abilities and aesthetic orientation. A strong technical foundation and work ethic are essential to building and maintaining craftsmanship, and Sheridan’s Ceramics program has, to its credit, continued to emphasize this.

My biggest challenge as a ceramist is to stay creatively fresh and avoid lingering in comfort zones. Setting out in a new creative direction is a daunting undertaking requiring enormous time and effort. While the path may often be difficult, the rewards can be great. I often discover new approaches to the medium—exciting new techniques and experiences - through the magic and unpredictability of the kiln. The reality is that one must typically fire a great number of pieces to get a few that are truly spectacular, and sometimes the effects can even be downright disappointing. However, sometimes the results can be so stunning that they more than redeem the outright failures. I live for the moments when I open the kiln to find such work.

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