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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:

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
Ceramics -- Equipment and supplies  Search this
Glazing (Ceramics)  Search this
Decorative arts  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 Frances Senska

Interviewee:
Senska, Frances, 1914-2009  Search this
Interviewer:
Forbes, Donna, 1929-  Search this
Creator:
Nanette L. Laitman Documentation Project for Craft and Decorative Arts in America  Search this
Names:
Archie Bray Foundation -- Faculty  Search this
Nanette L. Laitman Documentation Project for Craft and Decorative Arts in America  Search this
Extent:
28 Pages (Transcript)
Type:
Collection descriptions
Archival materials
Pages
Sound recordings
Interviews
Date:
2001 April 16
Scope and Contents:
An interview of Frances Senska conducted 2001 April 16, by Donna Forbes, for the Archives of American Art's Nanette L. Laitman Documentation Project for Craft and Decorative Arts in America.
The interview took place in Senska's home and studio Bozeman, Montana. Senska speaks of her childhood in Africa and her exposure to African culture, specifically the pottery; immigrating to the United States, attending high school in Iowa City, Iowa, and completing both her BA and MA at the University of Iowa; joining the Navy; her interests in art and specifically how they developed into ceramics; her instructors; her teaching experience; the establishment of the Archie Bray Foundation in Helena, Montana; the community of artists in Montana; how function is the most important aspect of her pottery; clay-digging expeditions; the design of her house and studio; how she listens to African music when she throws clay; the influence of craft magazines; the National Council on Education for the Ceramic Arts [NCECA]; honorary awards and degrees she has received; and changes in the ceramics world over the past fifty years. Senska recalls Peter Voulkos, Rudy Autio, Trude Guermonprez, Henry Meloy, Jun Kaneko, Maija Grotell, Branson Stevenson and others.
Biographical / Historical:
Frances Senska (1914-2009) was a ceramicist and educator in Bozeman, Montana. Donna Forbes (1929- ) is the director of the Yellowstone Art Center, in Billings, Montana.
General:
Originally recorded on 3 sound cassettes. Reformatted in 2010 as 3 digital wav files. Duration is 1 hr., 46 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.
Occupation:
Educators -- Bozeman -- Montana  Search this
Topic:
Clay  Search this
Ceramicists -- Montana -- Interviews  Search this
Ceramics -- Study and teaching  Search this
Ceramics -- Technique  Search this
Decorative arts  Search this
Women educators  Search this
Women artists  Search this
Genre/Form:
Sound recordings
Interviews
Identifier:
AAA.senska01
Archival Repository:
Archives of American Art
GUID:
https://n2t.net/ark:/65665/mw9c5ac37ac-3d23-4df6-ab7b-1db327253d77
EDAN-URL:
ead_collection:sova-aaa-senska01
Online Media:

Robert Sperry papers

Creator:
Sperry, Robert, 1927-1998  Search this
Names:
Nanette L. Laitman Documentation Project for Craft and Decorative Arts in America  Search this
University of Washington -- Faculty  Search this
Warashina, Patti, 1940-  Search this
Extent:
13.6 Linear feet
0.907 Gigabytes
Type:
Collection descriptions
Archival materials
Gigabytes
Motion pictures (visual works)
Transcripts
Interviews
Sketches
Drawings
Photographs
Scrapbooks
Videotapes
Date:
1951-2002
Summary:
The papers of ceramicist Robert Sperry measure 13.6 linear feet and 0.907 GB and date from 1951-2002. The collection documents Sperry's career as an artist, teacher, and filmmaker through biographical information, correspondence, exhibition files, gallery files, material on projects and workshops, writings, a scrapbook, financial files, printed and digital material, photographs, moving image materials, and artwork.
Scope and Content Note:
The papers of ceramicist Robert Sperry measure 13.6 linear feet and 0.907 GB and date from 1951-2002. The collection documents Sperry's career as an artist and teacher through biographical information, correspondence, exhibition files, gallery files, material on projects and workshops, writings, a scrapbook, financial files, printed and digital material, photographs, video recordings, films, and artwork.

Biographical files contain items outlining Sperry's career including resumes, teaching evaluations, awards, and interviews. Correspondence includes general correspondence with family, friends, colleagues, schools, galleries, art organizations, and publications as well as named files for those with whom Sperry exchanged a significant amount of correspondence over a long period of time. The Exhibition Files contain materials on group and solo exhibitions Robert Sperry participated in, while Gallery Files hold material, such as correspondence and contracts, related to the galleries which exhibited Sperry's work primarily after 1979. The Project and Workshop Files in Series 5 contain material related to public commissions he completed and workshops he gave during the 1980s and 1990s.

Writings encompass writings by Sperry and others. Sperry's writings vary greatly and include drafts of articles, a family history, poetry, notes and a screenplay, while writings by others are primarily essays on art. Within this series Sperry's event calendars are also found. Sperry compiled a scrapbook which spans 1955 to 1964 and includes correspondence and printed material about exhibitions and newspaper clippings which feature his artwork. He and his wife, Patti Warashina, also compiled Financial Records primarily of their business and living expenses from 1976 to 1984 and earnings as artists and professors at the University of Washington.

The largest series in this collection, Printed Material, provides information largely on Sperry's career through press clippings, exhibition announcements, catalogs, and publications, and also includes other materials on ceramics in general. The Photographs series contains both photos and negatives from Sperry's trip to Japan to film "Village Potters of Onda" as well as photographs of his artwork and his family. Also found in this collection are a few sketches and drawings by Sperry and one drawing by Patti Warashina. Moving image material includes video recordings and motion picture film with a wide range of content, including documentaries about Sperry, studio footage, and experimental and narrative films created by Sperry in a range of styles and genres, including animation such as the animated film "Henry," hand colored film, live action footage, abstract design, and narrative short films by Sperry. There are digital research copies of some of the films.
Arrangement:
The Robert Sperry papers are arranged as thirteen series, according to type of material. Each series is arranged either in rough chronological or alphabetical order.

Missing Title

Series 1: Biographical Files, 1954-circa 2000, undated (Box 1; 0.3 linear feet)

Series 2: Correspondence Files, 1951-2000, undated (Boxes 1-2; 0.9 linear feet)

Series 3: Exhibition Files, 1963-1999, undated (Boxes 2-3; 1.2 linear feet)

Series 4: Gallery Files, 1960-2000, undated (Boxes 3-4; 0.8 linear feet)

Series 5: Project and Workshop Files, 1967-1996, undated (Box 4; 0.4 linear feet)

Series 6: Writings, 1966-1990, undated (Box 5; 0.5 linear feet)

Series 7: Scrapbook, 1955-1964 (Box 5; 8 folders)

Series 8: Financial Records, 1961-1995, undated (Boxes 5-6; 1.0 linear feet)

Series 9: Miscellaneous Subject Files, 1975-1998, undated (Box 6; 0.2 linear feet)

Series 10: Printed Material, 1955-2002, undated (Boxes 6-10; 3.4 linear feet)

Series 11: Photographs, 1963, undated (Box 10; 0.2 linear feet)

Series 12: Sketches and Drawings, 1984, undated (Box 10; 2 folders)

Series 13: Moving Image Material, circa 1962-1998, undated (Boxes 10-12, FC 13-18; 3.1 linear feet, ER01; 0.907 GB)
Biographical Note:
Robert Sperry was born in Bushnell, Illinois, in 1927. He grew up on his family's farm in Druid, Saskatchewan, Canada, and in 1945 was drafted into the U.S. Army, where he first developed an interest in art. After serving in the military, he returned home and completed his B.A. at the University of Saskatchewan in 1950 and a B.F.A. at the Art Institute of Chicago in 1953. While working on his B.A. he met and married Edyth MacDonald and they had one child, Van, in 1950. Sperry spent one summer as Artist in Residence at the Archie Bray Foundation, in Helena, Montana, and then moved his family to Seattle so that he could complete his M.F.A. at the University of Washington. After graduating in 1955 he stayed at the University and became a professor, teaching ceramics until retiring in 1982. During this time, Sperry widely exhibited his clay vessels in both group and solo exhibitions and was active in the American Craft Council.

When not teaching, Robert Sperry pursued his interest in photography and filmmaking and, in 1963, traveled to Japan to make "Village Potters of Onda," a project that included a documentary film and a collection of black and white photographs. Sperry continued experimenting with film and, in 1967, created a fictional film entitled, "Profiles Cast Long Shadows," which was shown at film festivals throughout the United States. After abandoning another film project in 1970 while going through a divorce, he returned to ceramics as his focus. During the 1970s Sperry developed his techniques, modifying glazes and moving away from the vessel shape. In 1976 Sperry married Patti Warashina, fellow ceramicist and professor at the University of Washington. He began producing murals, which led to several public commissions such as a mural for the IBM Field Engineering Educational Center in Atlanta, created in 1983. Robert Sperry: A Retrospective, was exhibited in 1985-1986 at the Bellevue Art Museum, however, Sperry would continue producing and exhibiting new work, and giving lectures and workshops for thirteen more years, until his death in 1998.
Related Material:
Also found in the Archives of American Art are the Patti Warashina papers, circa 1900-1991. An online finding aid is available.
Provenance:
The Robert Sperry papers were donated by Sperry's wife Patti Warashina in 2003 and 2004.
Restrictions:
The collection is open for research. Use requires an appointment.
Rights:
The Archives of American Art makes its archival collections available for non-commercial, educational and personal use unless restricted by copyright and/or donor restrictions, including but not limited to access and publication restrictions. AAA makes no representations concerning such rights and restrictions and it is the user's responsibility to determine whether rights or restrictions exist and to obtain any necessary permission to access, use, reproduce and publish the collections. Please refer to the Smithsonian's Terms of Use for additional information.
Topic:
Works of art  Search this
Filmmakers  Search this
Potters -- Japan  Search this
Ceramicists -- Washington (State)  Search this
Ceramics -- Study and teaching  Search this
Genre/Form:
Motion pictures (visual works)
Transcripts
Interviews
Sketches
Drawings
Photographs
Scrapbooks
Videotapes
Citation:
Robert Sperry papers, 1951-2002. Archives of American Art, Smithsonian Institution.
Identifier:
AAA.sperrobe
See more items in:
Robert Sperry papers
Archival Repository:
Archives of American Art
GUID:
https://n2t.net/ark:/65665/mw996719c7b-4712-4e46-99b6-a86400daf28b
EDAN-URL:
ead_collection:sova-aaa-sperrobe

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