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Emerging ceramic artist hosts free workshop at BCC
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A bowl by Brenda Lichman in which the lusciousness of the clay from the greenware state is clearly highlighted. - photo by COURTESY PHOTO

Studio potter and Wichita State University professor Brenda Lichman is presenting a free ceramics workshop from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday, Feb. 11 in T-151 at Barton Community College. Lichman has been a visiting artist at the Shafer Gallery, brought in by art instructor Bill Forst who specializes in ceramics. Forst applied for a mini-grant from the Barton Foundation in August to bring Lichman in for the workshop.
Lichman’s work has been on display in the Shafer Gallery since January 13 alongside artist Wayne Conyers. This workshop is part of the closing events for the Wayne Conyers and Brenda Lichman Exhibit.
Her father, who was interested in architecture, taught her from an early age about the arts. She always knew she wanted to be an artist but didn’t discover ceramics untill her senior year in college.
“I was going to be a graphic designer but then the process of clay was so exciting and challenging,” Lichman said. “Everything seemed easy till then, I really liked the challenge so I switched my major.”
Even to this day she finds the work challenging.
“I never stop asking questions and I try to challenge myself to the next level. There is so much to ceramics you could focus on one section of it for a lifetime.”
Forst first heard about Lichman when she was featured as an “Emerging Artist” by Ceramics Monthly Magazine in May of 2009. It was not until years later when Forst was going through some old magazines when he had the idea to bring Lichman to Barton.
“I came across a December 2014 issue of Ceramics Monthly which had a feature article about Brenda Lichman and balance and versatility,” Forst said. “I am attracted to her sense of beauty because it correlates with my own.”
Lichman said her work is interactive and built for use.
“I don’t really need my pieces to be on a shelf,” she said. “Instead, I want part of my design to be for people to touch it.”
Forst said her utilitarian approach to art drew him to her work, and that the public will also appreciate it.
“Her work is easily understandable; it is representational art work,” he said. “When you look at her cups and saucers that is exactly what they are.”
The workshop will begin with a throwing demonstration by Lichman as she talks about her work. She will be demonstrating her process in creating a piece. Since this is only a one day workshop, Lichman will be bringing parts that will be assembled to make a teapot. She will also be demonstrating her slip technique.
“Slip is a watered-down clay which is put over the surface or the form of the pot,” Forst said. “She has a unique way of handling the slip to leave ripples with a sinuous fluid contour.”
“I am attracted to the greenware state of clay,” Lichman said. “I use the slip because I want to highlight that the clay is still malleable but also trying to keep the lusciousness at that point when it is fired and hard.”
Forst plans to hang a mirror so attendees can see what Lichman is doing with the clay, even from the back of the room.
At noon, there will be a break for lunch in the gallery (lunch is not provided) during which Lichman will give a presentation. Following lunch, at 1:30 p.m. the workshop will continue in the studio where she will finish assembling and decorating the forms, concluding around 4 p.m.
Lichman is excited to see the college, meet the students, see the gallery and connect with local guilds.
“I am honored to come and lead this workshop,” she said.
Following the workshop, there will be a closing reception in the Shafer Gallery for Wayne Conyers’ “Quarks, Quirks & Quantum Conundrums” exhibit. The reception will feature refreshments and a gallery talk by the artist.
Lichman’s work is represented by Red Lodge Clay Center, AKAR, Plinth Gallery and Crimson Laurel Gallery.