Louise Cort, Curator of ceramics at the Smithsonian Institution's Freer/Sackler Gallery in Washington D.C., paid a visit to Yary and the Cambodian "smokeless" kiln on a cold day in late January. She was accompanied by Danny Eijsermans, a Freer/Sackler Curatorial Fellow and Ph.D. candidate whose area of study is Southeast Asian art history.
We are delighted to learn that Professor Yary will again be honored in Washington during the July 2017 Smithsonian Folklife Festival, which will celebrate 50 years of NEA National Heritage Fellows. Yary is a 2015 recipient of this award, the highest in the nation. During July 4 - 9, on the National Mall, Yary will demonstrate the art of Khmer ceramics.
Yary and I first met Louise in Providence Rhode Island at the
National Council on Education for the Ceramic Arts 2015 annual
conference. Louise came to our panel presentation "Continuing &
Contemporizing Cambodian Ceramics - A Community Effort".
Louise's visit to Lowell was facilitated by Maggie Holtzberg who runs the Folk Arts & Heritage program at the Massachusetts Cultural Council. Maggie was a fellow panelist at NCECA. Read more about Louise's visit to Yary's studio, and plans for an upcoming show of Cambodian ceramics at the Smithsonian, at Maggie's blog Keepers of Tradition.
Margaret Rack is Professor of Art at Middlesex Community College
Photo by Maggie Holtzberg
It's a brisk winter day, less than 48 hours since the kiln was sealed up at the end of the firing cycle to begin the cool down. The temperature inside the kiln is 75 degrees when Yary removes the first few bricks to have a look.
First look confirms the kiln only reached cone 8 on the top shelves. That greenish glaze would be red if that area of the kiln had reached cone 10 or 11.
My friend David Archibald, a potter from Gloucester MA, helps Yary dismantle the door.
Abby has returned to help; she was our chimney smoke monitor during the firing on Saturday.
John's bowl has wonderfully interesting color.
See the little turtle on top of the casserole? The bottom is just as wonderful. The blue glaze turned deep purple.
Multiple boats emerge from the kiln.
Oh thank goodness the dragon tail survived!
The bag wall looks read to collapse! We are luck it didn't.
Yary estimates about 75% of the wares fired perfectly. It was a challenging firing, with uneven heat, some areas reaching cone 8, some cone 10, some cone 11.
Join Yary firing the kiln Saturday January 14. It promises to be a sunny 28 degree day. He'll be starting early in the a.m. as usual; and plans to unload the wares on Monday. Happy New Year!