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.
Originally recorded on 3 sound cassettes. Reformatted in 2010 as 6 digital wav files. Duration is 3 hr.
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.
Kingery, W. David and Vandiver, Pamela B. 1986. "The Eighteenth Century Change in Technology and Style from the Famille-Vert Palette to the Famille-Rose Palette." In Ceramics and Civilization II: Technology and Style. Kingery, W. David, editor. 363–382. Columbus, OH: American Ceramic Society.
Aerol Co., Inc. [Subsidiary] ; Lockheed Missles & Space Co. ; Automotive Products Co. Ltd. (London, United Kingdom and Leamington Spa, United Kingdom) Search this
Letters to W. A. Lenzer of the Cincinnati Butcher's Supply Co. from A. T. Gardiner, Jr. of Aerol Co., Inc. regarding mounting data and installation of "Aerol-Seal" wheels and Airlite "sealed hub wheels" ; three blueprints for "Aerol-Seal" wheels ; "Airlite" wheels ; other Aerol industrial wheels or casters ; "Materials Handling & Packaging Standards: Volume III" from the Lockheed Missles & Space Co. ; "Facts About the Lockheed in Which You Are Flying", an information booklet for passengers ; Lockheed "Lodestar" airplane ; "LI-1500: A Silica Composite Thermal Insulation" by R. M. Beasley and Y. D. Izu "...Presented at the 74th Annual Meeting of the American Ceramic Society..." ; "Look to Lockheed for Leadership" engineering and manufacturing plant ; Lockheed "Lodestar" scale model building instructions and drawings ; Lockheed "12" airplane ; Lockheed "Electra Model 10E" specifications ; Lockheed "Vega Model 5C" specifications ; Lockheed "Orion Model 9D" specifications ; Lockheed "14" airplane ; Lockheed brake fluid ; "Lockheed-Gates Straight Line Brake Servo System" ; "Lockheed-Gates" booster ; "Lockheed Fluid Remote Control for Marine Engines" ; "Airdraulic" shock absorbers ; "Lockheed Hydraulic Actuation" for aircraft ; "Lockheed" trailer brakes ; "Purolator" metal element filters ; "Lockheed" hydraulic remote controls ; "Autoloc" slave cylinders ; "Lockheed-Babcock Hydraulic Remote Damper Control Gear" ; "Lockheed" hydraulic brakes ; hydraulic brake service manual ; "Lockheed Avery Hoses & Self-Sealing Couplings" ; Lockheed Concept 80 ; cardiac monitoring system
Trade catalog, price lists and manual
Black and white images
66 pieces; 2 boxes
Type of material:
Burbank, California, United States
Topic (Romaine term):
Automobiles and automotive equipment (including trucks and buses) Search this
Program of the twenty-ninth annual meeting of the American Ceramic Society : seven meetings in one, Divisions of Art, Enamels, Glass, Heavy Clay Products, Refractories, Terra Cotta and Whitewares : each meeting separately and all of them simultaneously : exhibit of ceramic products at Arts and Crafts Studio, to be held at Book-Cadillac, February 14, 15, 16, 17 and 18, Detroit, Michigan
Twenty-ninth annual meeting of the American Ceramics Society
American Ceramic Society Meeting (29th : 1927 : Detroit, Mich.) Search this
Vandiver, Pamela B., Cort, Louise A., and Handwerker, C. 1988. "Variations in the Practice of Ceramic Technology in Different Cultures: Comparison of Korean and Chinese Celadon Glazes." In Ceramics and Civilization IV. Notis, M. and McGovern, P. E., editors. 125–175. Westerville, OH: American Ceramic Society.
Kreidl, N. J., Uhlmann, D. R., and Vandiver, Pamela B. 1989. "Contributions to Glass: From Tableware to Lightpipes." In Ceramics and Civilization V. Kingery, W. David, editor. 257–278. Westerville, OH: American Ceramic Society.
Vidale, Massimo. 1990. "Stoneware Industry of the Indus Civilization: An Evolutionary Deadend in the History of Ceramic Technology." In Ceramics and Civilization V. Kingery, W. David, editor. 231–256. Westerville, OH: American Ceramic Society.
Vandiver, Pamela B., Soffer, Olga, Klima, B., and Svoboda, J. 1990. "Venuses and Wolverines: The Origins of Ceramic Technology at Dolni Vestonice, Czechoslovakia, ca. 26,000 B.P." In Ceramics and Civilization V. Kingery, W. David, editor. 13–82. Westerville, OH: American Ceramic Society.
Neff, Hector. 1990. "Culture Contact and Ceramic Evolution: Examples from Mesoamerica." In The Changing Roles of Ceramics in Society, Ceramics and Civilization V. Kingery, W. David, editor. 159–182. Westerville, OH: American Ceramic Society.
Henrickson, Robert C. 1989. "The Buff and the Grey: Ceramic Assemblages and Cultural Process in the Third Millennium BC Central Zagros, Iran." In Cross-Craft and Cross-Cultural Interaction in Ceramics, Ceramics and Civilization IV. Notis, M. R. and McGovern, P. E., editors. 81–146. Westerville, OH: American Ceramic Society.
Wright, Rita P. 1985. "Technology and Style in Ancient Ceramics." In Ceramics and Civilization: Ancient Technologies to Modern Science I. Kingery, W. David, editor. 5–25. Columbus, OH: American Ceramic Society.
Jornet, A., Blackman, M. James, and Olin, Jacqueline S. 1985. "XIIIth to XVIII Century Ceramics from the Paterna-Manises Area (Spain)." In Ceramics and Civilization: Ancient Technologies to Modern Science I. Kingery, W. David, editor. 235–255. Columbus, OH: American Ceramic Society.