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Oral history interview with William Underhill

Interviewee:
Underhill, William, 1933-  Search this
Interviewer:
Carney, Margaret, 1949-  Search this
Creator:
Nanette L. Laitman Documentation Project for Craft and Decorative Arts in America  Search this
Names:
Alfred University -- Faculty  Search this
Lee Nordness Galleries  Search this
Nanette L. Laitman Documentation Project for Craft and Decorative Arts in America  Search this
Voulkos, Peter, 1924-2002  Search this
Extent:
41 Pages (Transcript)
Type:
Collection descriptions
Archival materials
Pages
Sound recordings
Interviews
Date:
2002 June 8
Scope and Contents:
An interview of William Underhill conducted 2002 June 8, by Margaret Carney, for the Archives of American Art's Nanette L. Laitman Documentation Project for Craft and Decorative Arts in America, in Wellsville, N.Y.
Underhill speaks of being born in Berkeley, California, to parents who were art teachers; the differences between the West Coast Bay Area arts and crafts movement and that of the east coast; attending California College of Arts & Crafts for two years and then transferring to the University of California at Berkeley, in 1953, to enter the architecture program; building a dome out of aluminum for the city of Oakland's parks department with other students during the summer of 1956; being drafted into the Army in 1957; working for the U.S. Army headquarters in Germany as a draftsman; prominent and influential craft artists that he knew; marrying Linn Baldwin [Underhill], a fellow classmate, in 1957, and starting a family; re-entering UC Berkeley, finishing his B.A. degree in 1960 and completing his M.A. in 1961; his studies with Peter Voulkos; making bronze bowls, which led to his idea of casting wax, modeling wax fabrication, using sheet wax, and making textured sculpture and geometric shapes; having one of his bowl pieces in the Museum of Contemporary Crafts; the Oakland Museum buying a piece of his work; his teaching position at Highlands University in Las Vegas, N.M.; being in the "Young Americans" exhibit and receiving the "Best of Show" award in 1962; most teachers trying to "emulate" the style of Peter Voulkos; moving to New York; showing at the Blumenfeld Gallery; sharing a studio next to the Clay Arts Center in Port Chester, N.Y.; building a foundry and a melting facility; teaching part-time at a community adult art center in White Plains, N.Y.; his financial difficulties; teaching part-time at Pratt Institute in 1965; J. Gordon Lippincott, of the industrial firm Lippincott and Margolies, commissioning him to do large scale steel sculptures for major corporations; working as a draftsman in an architect's office in New York City to pay for rent and groceries in 1966; teaching a summer session at Columbia's Teacher's College; teaching full-time as an instructor at New York University in 1967; teaching a workshop at Alfred University, in 1963; interviewing for a teaching position at Alfred at the College Art Association meeting, in Boston, in 1968; moving in the summer of 1969 to Alfred to teach; his counter-culture lifestyle and consequent decrease in his artistic production; showing at the Lee Nordness Gallery in the 1960s; exhibiting at the Perimeter Gallery, Helen Drutt Gallery, Twining Gallery, and Garth Clark Gallery in the 1980s; creating the bronzed statue of King Alfred for Alfred University and selling his copyright to them; his signature stamp; having pieces in the American Craft Museum and in the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art's collection; teaching at Haystack Mountain School of Crafts, the Anderson Ranch, and the Mendocino Art Center; various craft magazines including Craft Horizons and Metalsmith; being a member of the American Craft Council [ACC]; his retirement in 1997; and working at the Berkeley Art Foundry in the summer of 2002. Underhill also recalls Robert Arneson, Josephine Blumenfeld, Diane Cox, Val Cushing, Peter Dodge, Jack Earl, Andrew Jevremovic, Manuel Neri, Bill Parry, Ted Randall, Dan Rhodes, Glenn Zweygardt, and others.
Biographical / Historical:
William Underhill (1933- ) is a metalsmith from Wellsville, N.Y. Margaret Carney is an art historian from New York.
General:
Originally recorded on 2 sound cassettes. Reformatted in 2010 as 4 digital wav files. Duration is 2 hr., 7 min.
Provenance:
This interview is part of the Archives of American Art Oral History Program, started in 1958 to document the history of the visual arts in the United States, primarily through interviews with artists, historians, dealers, critics and administrators.
Restrictions:
Transcript available on the Archives of American Art website.
Occupation:
Sculptors -- New York (State)  Search this
Topic:
Art -- Economic aspects  Search this
Bronze founding -- Technique  Search this
Decorative arts  Search this
Metal-work  Search this
Genre/Form:
Sound recordings
Interviews
Identifier:
AAA.underh02
Archival Repository:
Archives of American Art
GUID:
https://n2t.net/ark:/65665/mw95087d49d-5038-472c-9acd-5e8f7ca6ca3c
EDAN-URL:
ead_collection:sova-aaa-underh02
Online Media:

Oral history interview with Val Cushing

Interviewee:
Cushing, Val M.  Search this
Interviewer:
Carney, Margaret, 1949-  Search this
Creator:
Nanette L. Laitman Documentation Project for Craft and Decorative Arts in America  Search this
Names:
Alfred University -- Faculty  Search this
Alfred University -- Students  Search this
Archie Bray Foundation  Search this
Archie Bray Foundation -- Faculty  Search this
Nanette L. Laitman Documentation Project for Craft and Decorative Arts in America  Search this
Wildenhain, Marguerite  Search this
Extent:
46 Pages (Transcript)
Type:
Collection descriptions
Archival materials
Pages
Sound recordings
Interviews
Date:
2001 April 16
Scope and Contents:
An interview of Val Cushing conducted 2001 April 16, by Margaret Carney, for the Archives of American Art's Nanette L. Laitman Documentation Project for Craft and Decorative Arts in America, in Cushing's studio, Alfred Station, New York.
Cushing speaks of his early interest in drawing; applying to Alfred University without a portfolio and being accepted on an athletic scholarship to play football; his teachers at Alfred including Katherine Nelson, Charles Harder, Marion Fosdick, Kurt Ekdahl, and Dan Rhodes; his classmates at Alfred including Herb Cohen, Marty Moskof, Marty Chodos, Luis Mendez, Ed Pettengill, and Richard Homer; the influence of Marguerite Wildenhain, who came to Alfred to teach for two weeks in 1952 (Cushing's senior year); his first job making pots at Santa's Workshop in Adirondack Mountains in New York in 1951, and the value of throwing every day; learning that "technique is not enough"; his travels; serving in the military police in Fort Dix, New Jersey, during the Korean War; visiting the Metropolitan Museum to sketch pots; meeting his wife Elsie Brown, who was private-duty nurse in New York; Charles Harder as an administrator and teacher; attending graduate school at Alfred on the G.I. Bill from 1954 to 1956; his decision to become teacher rather than full-time potter at the suggestion of Charles Harder; teaching at University of Illinois in 1956 and then Alfred University in 1957; the "famous" dialogues between Charles Harder and Bernard Leach; the importance of designing functional handmade objects; the evolution of the American craft market; his work for Andover China; exhibitions; his close-knit ceramics community in the 1950s and 1960s; his relationships with galleries including American Hand and The Farrell Collection in Washington, D.C., Helen Drutt Gallery and the Works Gallery in Philadelphia, The Signature Shop & Gallery in Atlanta, Martha Schneider Gallery in Chicago, and Cedar Creek Gallery in Creedmoor, North Carolina; teaching at Penland, Haystack, Arrowmont, Archie Bray, and Anderson Ranch; "the Alfred connection at Archie Bray" and his grant to study at Archie Bray in 1968; the importance of Alfred's summer school to the history of contemporary clay in America; the value of university training; Bob Turner's and Ted Randal's influence on his work through their "philosophic stance" and "presence as artists"; his working space and his 1983 NEA grant to adapt an existing barn for use as a studio; the influence of nature on his work; working with kick wheel, Soldner wheel, Venco Pug Mill, natural gas and electric kilns; his glaze expertise; opportunities for experimentation; his love of jazz music and its influence on his working methods; pricing his pots; commissions; ceramic workshops as theatrical "performances" and an American phenomenon; the role of specialized periodicals in the craft field; the difference between craft critics and painting and sculpture critics; and the place of ceramics in museum collections in the United States and abroad.
Cushing also talks about his involvement with NCECA [The National Council on Education for the Ceramic Arts], the American Craft Council, and the American Ceramics Society; the lack of political and social commentary in his work; his teaching experiences in Europe and Asia; his participation in the opening of The Shigaraki Ceramic Cultural Park in Japan; and the importance of ceramic history for the contemporary ceramist. He also recalls Susan Peterson, Bill Pitney, Marv Rickel, Don Frith, Winslow Anderson, Ken Deavers, Joan Mondale, Joan Farrell, Don Reitz, Gerry Williams, Bill Parry, Ken Ferguson, and others.
Biographical / Historical:
Val Cushing (1931- ) is a ceramic artist and potter from Alfred Station, New York. Margaret Carney (1949- ) is the director of the Schein Joseph International Museum of Ceramic Art in Alfred, New York.
General:
Originally recorded on 3 sound cassettes. Reformatted in 2010 as 6 digital wav files. Duration is 3 hr.
Provenance:
This interview is part of the Archives of American Art Oral History Program, started in 1958 to document the history of the visual arts in the United States, primarily through interviews with artists, historians, dealers, critics and administrators.
Occupation:
Ceramicists -- New York (State)  Search this
Topic:
Art -- Economic aspects  Search this
Ceramics -- Study and teaching  Search this
Ceramics -- Technique  Search this
Glazing (Ceramics)  Search this
Decorative arts  Search this
Ceramics  Search this
Genre/Form:
Sound recordings
Interviews
Identifier:
AAA.cushin01
Archival Repository:
Archives of American Art
GUID:
https://n2t.net/ark:/65665/mw9572d0cc4-97cb-44d7-9531-068cec70f0b4
EDAN-URL:
ead_collection:sova-aaa-cushin01
Online Media:

Oral history interview with Wayne Higby

Interviewee:
Higby, Wayne  Search this
Interviewer:
McInnes, Mary, 1956-  Search this
Creator:
Nanette L. Laitman Documentation Project for Craft and Decorative Arts in America  Search this
Names:
Alfred University -- Faculty  Search this
Archie Bray Foundation  Search this
Haystack Mountain School of Crafts -- Faculty  Search this
Helen Drutt Gallery  Search this
Nanette L. Laitman Documentation Project for Craft and Decorative Arts in America  Search this
Rhode Island School of Design -- Faculty  Search this
University of Colorado (Boulder campus) -- Students  Search this
University of Michigan -- Students  Search this
University of Nebraska -- Faculty  Search this
Bauer, Fred  Search this
Cushing, Val M.  Search this
Ferguson, Ken, 1928-2004  Search this
McKinnell, James  Search this
McKinnell, Nan  Search this
Merritt, Francis Sumner, 1913-2000  Search this
Motherwell, Robert  Search this
Neri, Manuel, 1930-  Search this
Randall, Theodore, 1914-1985  Search this
Shaner, David, 1934-  Search this
Soldner, Paul  Search this
Turner, Robert Chapman, 1913-2005  Search this
Voulkos, Peter, 1924-2002  Search this
Woodman, Betty, 1930-2018  Search this
Extent:
9 Items (Sound recording: 9 sound files (4 hr., 55 min.), digital, wav)
66 Pages (Transcript)
Type:
Collection descriptions
Archival materials
Pages
Interviews
Sound recordings
Place:
Africa -- description and travel
Asia -- Description and Travel
China -- Description and Travel
Colorado -- description and travel
Europe -- description and travel
Date:
2005 April 12-14
Scope and Contents:
An interview of Wayne Higby conducted 2005 April 12-14, by Mary McInnes, for the Archives of American Art's Nanette L. Laitman Documentation Project for Craft and Decorative Arts in America, in Alfred Station, New York. Higby speaks of growing up in Colorado Springs, Colorado; choosing to go to University of Colorado, Boulder; traveling to Europe, Asia, and Africa; being influenced by Minoan pottery; working for ceramicist Betty Woodman; deciding to become a teacher; getting a graduate degree at the University of Michigan; working at Archie Bray Foundation; teaching at the University of Nebraska and Rhode Island School of Design; having his first one person art show and exhibiting nationally; teaching at Haystack Mountain School of Crafts; the influence of landscape on his work; how the craft market has changed during his career; working with the Helen Drutt Gallery; writing about craft and the need for critical dialogue in craft publications; being inspired by Asian art; learning ceramics from Jim and Nan McKinnell, and the influence of other teachers on his career; getting hired at Alfred University; the challenges and benefits of teaching at Alfred; his colleagues at Alfred; making functional art and using the vessel form; his teaching philosophy; putting ceramics in a larger art context; his current project; his studio practice; themes in his artwork; choosing to work in porcelain; lecturing and touring in China; being interested in landscape painting; the public response to his work; and recently being awarded several honors. Higby also recalls Manuel Neri, Peter Voulkos, Paul Soldner, Fred Bauer, David Shaner, Francis Merritt, Ted Randall, Bob Turner, Val Cushing, Kenneth Ferguson, Robert Motherwell, and others.
Biographical / Historical:
Wayne Higby (1943- ) is a ceramicist from Alfred Station, New York. Mary McInnes is a professor from Alfred, New York.
General:
Originally recorded on 4 sound discs. Reformatted in 2010 as 9 digital wav files. Duration is 4 hr., 55 min.
Provenance:
This interview is part of the Archives of American Art Oral History Program, started in 1958 to document the history of the visual arts in the United States, primarily through interviews with artists, historians, dealers, critics and administrators.
Restrictions:
Use requires an appointment.
Topic:
Ceramicists -- New York (State) -- Interviews  Search this
Ceramics -- Study and teaching  Search this
Decorative arts  Search this
Educators -- New York (State) -- Interviews  Search this
Pottery, Minoan  Search this
Genre/Form:
Interviews
Sound recordings
Identifier:
AAA.higby05
Archival Repository:
Archives of American Art
GUID:
https://n2t.net/ark:/65665/mw9bf162d01-21b8-45c0-a721-3b28272fd72c
EDAN-URL:
ead_collection:sova-aaa-higby05
Online Media:

Alfred now : contemporary American ceramics : Anne Currier, Val Cushing, Andrea Gill, John Gill, Wayne Higby

Author:
Krannert Art Museum  Search this
Subject:
New York State College of Ceramics at Alfred University Faculty  Search this
Physical description:
55 p. : ill. (some col.) ; 29 cm
Type:
Exhibitions
Place:
New York (State)
Alfred
Date:
1994
C1994
20th century
Topic:
Pottery, American  Search this
Call number:
NK4027.A43 K88 1994
Data Source:
Smithsonian Libraries
EDAN-URL:
edanmdm:siris_sil_490675

Alfred teaches ceramics, 1900-1996 / compiled and edited and exhibition curated by Margaret Carney for the Museum of Ceramic Art at Alfred

Author:
Carney, Margaret 1949-  Search this
Museum of Ceramic Art (Alfred, N.Y.)  Search this
New York State College of Ceramics at Alfred University  Search this
Subject:
New York State College of Ceramics at Alfred University Faculty  Search this
Physical description:
83 p. : ill. ; 22 x 27 cm
Type:
Exhibitions
Place:
New York (State)
Alfred
Date:
1996
C1996
20th century
Topic:
Pottery, American  Search this
Call number:
NK4027.A43 A39 1996
Data Source:
Smithsonian Libraries
EDAN-URL:
edanmdm:siris_sil_498518

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