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Ingrid Lilligren, Art and Design, (515) 294-8883
Heather Sauer, Design, (515) 294-9289
Teddi Barron, News Service, (515) 294-4778


AMES, Iowa -- Nationally known ceramist Carol Molly Prier, Point Reyes, Calif., will visit Iowa State's College of Design from Nov. 9 to Nov. 11 to share her expertise of methods adapted from traditional Native American ways of making pottery.

Prier will conduct a burnishing workshop for ISU ceramics students on Saturday, Nov. 9. At noon on Monday, Nov. 11, she will demonstrate a form of pit firing with sawdust and manure. She will present a lecture about her work at 4:15 p.m. that afternoon in room 130 in the College of Design. The demonstration and lecture are free and open to the public.

Prier has been a studio potter for more than 30 years. She trained with Steve Lucas, the great-great-grandson of Nam Peyo, a famous Hopi ceramist. She has been published in Ceramics Monthly, and in the books, "Hands of Clay" and "Making it in Clay," both by Charlotte Speight and John Toki.

On Saturday, students in the ceramics studio of Ingrid Lilligren, associate professor of art and design, will learn how to create a high polish by using tools to compress the surface of their clay pots. They will apply a "terra sigillata" ("earth seal") slip to seal the burnished surfaces. On Monday, they will then fire the pieces in a modified Native American-style pit kiln built on the patio behind the College of Design building.

Lilligren and Prier will begin to build the low-walled pit enclosure behind the College of Design at about 11 a.m. Monday. They will add sawdust and dry horse manure and lay the pots in around noon. The firing process will take place from noon to 6 p.m.

"We'll have this pile that sort of smolders all afternoon. Eventually, all the sawdust will burn down and you will be able to see the pots and know when they're done," Lilligren said.

The sawdust-and-manure firing method produces soft grays, blacks, pinks and buffs in spontaneous arrangements, Lilligren said.

"The palette is a direct result of the materials included in the firing. This differs from other methods of coloring the surface because it is incorporated into the clay while glazes rest on the surfaces of the clay. The work is low-fired and mainly decorative as opposed to functional," she said.

The lecture is sponsored by CODAC, the College of Design Art Club.

"Molly's visit is funded with money from the clay sale CODAC holds each semester. We try to give back to the college and the community by providing access to visiting artists," Lilligren said.


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Ames, Iowa 50011, (515) 294-4111
Published by: University Relations,
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