By Isabella Bustanoby
AVPA Art’s museum partnership program with the Craft and Folk Art Museum has begun once again for its 6th year. The CAFAM program is an artist-in-residency in which students learn from a Los Angeles based artist, create a body of work in the artist’s preferred medium and then exhibit the art at the Craft and Folk Art Museum in the spring. This year we are working with ceramicist Wayne Perry and will learn the art of ceramics and pottery. This program is an incredibly unique opportunity for our students, and we are enthusiastic to dive deeper into ceramics within the coming weeks.
Our first class with Wayne Perry happened Wednesday, January 24th. The CCHS ceramics room filled with the eager AVPA artists. As we took our seats we stared at the throwing wheels, ceramics tools and several ceramics pieces scattered throughout the room. For many of the students this will be their first time using clay. The artist, Wayne Perry, demonstrated how to “throw on the wheel”, which is the process of forming bowls, vases, and other circular pieces on a mechanized spinning table. The process looks like magic. One moment there is a ball of clay on the spinning slab, and then it suddenly transforms gracefully into an elegant vase as the ceramicist pulls and pushes the clay. Freshman Annabel Axtell explained that “After being chosen to be a part of the CAFAM program I have learned so much. Before this program I had never worked with clay or thought of it as a medium I would like to pursue. Although, after having only one class and meeting Wayne Perry I’m so honored to be in this program and very excited about what I will be able to achieve when learning how to express creativity through clay.”
The AVPA artists were invited to the opening reception of “Melting Point: Movements in Contemporary Clay”, a ceramics exhibition at CAFAM, which features our program artist Wayne Perry. Perry was doing a performative piece where he sat in the museum courtyard and threw pots on his personal wheel. He effortlessly showed the public the rate at which he was producing these beautiful works of art. Towards the end of the show he took the pieces and placed them around the museum as a way of “pottery bombing” public spaces. “It’s really interesting to be able to take a class from an artist who has a lot of experience in his field,” states Elisa Ribordy. “He talked a lot about his journey in becoming a pottery artist which I thought was really helpful. It was also cool to see his art at the museum opening. It was a fairly new experience for me and it really helped me experience more of the art community,”. The other works at the opening night were spectacular and varied from one another. The experience gave the AVPA Art students a taste of what is to come within the program and in their future professional art careers.
During the following sessions AVPA Art students visited Self-Help Graphics and Art, a community arts center located in downtown Los Angeles. Wayne Perry has worked in conjunction with the studio for a very long time, and he was excited to share the space’s history, purpose and inspiration with the students since it’s a space that has shaped him as an artist. Self-Help Graphics and Art has a gallery space inside that currently houses “DÍA DE LOS MUERTOS: A CULTURAL LEGACY, PAST, PRESENT AND FUTURE”, a Pacific Standard Time show. It exhibits how the printing done at SHG has shaped its community through the celebration of Día de los Muertos. “Self Help Graphics is such a historic LA landmark, it was extraordinary to be able to look inside and experience it, from both a historic and artistic point of view,” adds senior Isabella Haro-Uchimura.
The students will be diving deeper into the art of ceramics and will begin this year’s 10-week project. It’s an honor to work with the Craft and Folk Art Museum again this year, and it’s been a privilege to learn under Wayne Perry. AVPA Art is excited to learn more about clay as a medium to create their ideas.