Saturday, January 12, 2019

Meet the Artists of "Clay Nation", an exhibit curated by Christine Bethea

Collaborative Studio space @ UP
Clay Nation: Ceramics, Community and Collaboration is an exhibition of work by African-American ceramicists from the Collaborative Studio at Union Project and curated by Christine Bethea, one of  four Collaborative Studio artists currently housed there. Ms. Bethea, a recent recipient of an Advancing Black Arts Program grant felt highlighting the other participants of the Studio was as important as showcasing her own work.
Christine Bethea, Curator
"All of us are growing as artists, and collectively we have decades of experience working in the arts in varying degrees. What bonds us is not only our love of the creative process, but the need to do art. We all think 'creating' is one of the most important and satisfying aspects of our lives," said Bethea. She and her fellow Collaborative artists are working towards leaving or have ended their non-arts careers or positions. In fact, it's interesting to note statistics, which say less than 15% of artists  have a related arts degree."Becoming  full-time artist is a risk, that warrants encouragement." Bethea added. As part of UP's MLK Day Celebration, Bethea is curating Clay Nation, as her commitment to community and to further promote the idea that culturally, African-Americans are engaged in every aspect of the arts, which is sometimes lost with so much attention given to the performance sector. While not a large exhibition, Clay Nation: Ceramics, Community and Collaboration showcases a variety of possibilities in the medium including sculpture, jewelry, dolls, bowls, vases, garden decor, and mixed media pieces. Below, an introduction to exhibition artists:

Will Jackson
William Jackson is a passionate artist who loves clay and whose past includes a work shop with the makers of Jim Henson's Muppet's.  His work is influenced by various cultures; in particular Chinese and Japanese aesthetics. He graduated from Ediinboro University in 2008 with Bachelor's in graphic design. Reach  Will @ thecrosstotha 

Janet Watkins
Janet Watkins is a ceramic artist and figure sculptor working in Pittsburgh, PA. Her jewelry work is inspired by her love of reclaiming materials and utilizes various mediums including clay, glass, and wood. a few years back, Watkins won a national award for an outdoor garden project and recently received the Jurors Choice Award for her work in the Sankofa Soul: Past, Present, Future exhibit at the Pittsburgh Center for the Arts. She has also participated in a two woman show in Sewickley PA, and currently has her art displayed at the Pittsburgh Cultural District.  To learn more about the artist and to see her current work, visit her on Instagram - @Janet2100Watkins. 

Emmanuelle Wambach
Emmanuelle Wambach, inspired by her mother's love of gardening and traditional women’s handcrafts, combines hand built and wheel thrown, texturing, carving, and sculptural, ceramic techniques to create functional ceramic lace dinnerware and decorative floral pieces. Emmanuelle moved to Pittsburgh, after completing her Master of Fine Arts degree in Ceramics and sculpture from Indiana University of PA, in 2014 and immediately moved to Pittsburgh connecting with its  amazing art and ceramics community. Emmanuelle believes that having the opportunity to create art opens the mind to different modes of thinking and new creative ways of seeing the world that can help with any path in life. Therefore, to share her love and knowledge of art, Emmanuelle has taught classes at the Pittsburgh Center for the Arts, Ton Pottery, Sweetwater Center for the Arts, and Propel Schools. She is also a teaching artist, and a member of the Pittsburgh based, Monmade. See more of her work at Emmanuelle

Christine Bethea, Clay Nation exhibition curator, has organized several exhibitions and art showcases due to her love of the Pittsburgh arts community. The award-winning Geek Art/Green Innovators Festival (GAGI) which she has organized in partnership with the Unblurred, art crawl on Penn Ave. is celebrating 10 years in 2019 and has featured over 200 artists from across the country. For her own work, she creates in Mixed Media which included fiber, glass, metal and paint; recently adding clay to her cache of materials. Learn more about Bethea's art at

Contributing Photographers: Jaclyn Harris, Nathan Shaulis 

SEE MORE!  "Whose behind Clay Nation"--Top right of page.

Meet the Artists of "Clay Nation", an exhibit curated by Christine Bethea

Collaborative Studio space @ UP Clay Nation: Ceramics, Community and Collaboration is an exhibition of work by African-A...