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January 1, 2012

Ceramics collection being started

Central Wyoming College ceramics instructor Danny Brown is starting a collection of contemporary and historical ceramics at the college.

“I’ve already made a few purchases of some traditional Japanese wares and plan on growing a substantial resource for our students and our community over the next several years,” said Brown, who is originally from Riverton.

The collection is important to CWC and the community, he said, to garner a true appreciation for the “Art of the Potter.” He wants students in the program to better understand the traditions of pottery, including historical, anthropological, cultural and artistic implications.

“What better way to understand more completely these traditions than to have an actual piece to hold in the hand, to feel the weight, the curve of a handle, the fingerprints of the maker. It makes these ideas personal.”

Brown’s classes contain the foundations in the history of a clay tradition that goes back tens of thousands of years in almost every part of the world.

“Japan has one of the richest and most interesting ceramic traditions in the world,” he gave as an example. He also talks about Korean potters who were kidnapped and forced to start producing Korean-style ceramics for the Japanese Tea Company and to teach Japanese potters their technical advances to allow them to produce these wares in the future.

“The meager rice bowls and slipwares of the Koreans were very highly prized by the Japanese, more so than gold at the time,” he said. “Today many of these old Chawan tea bowls are given the same designation as our national parks.”

He has an interest in many other types and styles, though focuses on Asian ceramics for their history and beauty. He would like the collection to reference the traditions of all parts of the world.
Contemporary ceramics show how these cultures, and all cultures, are changing as technology makes the world smaller, he said.

Currently the collection contains mostly ceramics that he has loaned to the college. “In time, the permanent collection will replace these and grow in scale,” he said. “We have contemporary ceramics from important American artists, some very beautiful Chinese works, a pre-Columbian burial bowl, and work from the very important Wyoming potter, Lynn Munns, to name a few.”

He has the collection on display in a glass case in the ceramics studio, room 113 of the Robert A. Peck Arts Center. “As the collection grows, more cases will be added until our visual art program houses a wonderful collection of ceramic art.” For more information on the collection, contact Brown at (307) 855-2048.