Former Seward student throws pot, inspires student artists

Wearing clay-strained jeans, artist John McCluggage looks like he has had a long, hard day of work. He finally stands on a bucket to continue shaping 350 pounds of clay in the college ceramic art studio. The pot was started at noon April 20, and McCluggage continued working into the evening hours until the piece of pottery stood more than three feet tall. McCluggage was a visiting artist on the Seward campus, where he was also once a student. He attended the college for one semester in 2001. McCluggage said what he enjoyed most about the college was the community atmosphere and the level of instruction. McCluggage’s daytime job is head of ceramics at Wichita Arts. He has been throwing pots for 15 years. 3-D instructor Dustin Farmer, who planned the visiting artist event, said he had heard about McCluggage from a friend, Mark Branstine. Branstine has known McCluggage since 2001. “(I thought) it would be great for the students to see someone throw such a massive piece,” Farmer said. According to McCluggage, this pot is the biggest one he has made yet. He also said a piece this size has to be planned out. “You have got to know your kiln size and what size you want.” Farmer has noted that the event has gone over very positively. “A lot of students were impressed, especially my ceramic students because they understand the process. I would like to thank the faculty and campus for their interest as well.” Students were able to see the artist work on his part and watch his progress throughout the day. “I thought he was a very good artist and I would love to have his talent to throw such a big pot like that,” said Freshman Karem Gallo. According to Farmer, the piece, after being shaved down, is around 180 pounds. The whole process of the piece may not be totally complete until the summer due to scheduling, according to Farmer. “I’ll see if he is willing to keep it here for display for a while, but it will go back to the artist since it’s worth $3,000.” McCluggage’s work was viewed live and in progress by students, staff and faculty. Students who are invovled with arts at Seward understand just how important it is for students interested in art to see other artists create artwork and would enjoy seeing more in the future. “its really entertaining yet inspirational and really shows that we cannot limit our selfs with whatever,” Freshman Omar Rios said. “We really have to learn how to push ourselves to be better and pleasing our artistic needs. ”JmC