Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Relief Sculpture/Brick Carving class

Connie Kopsa, 3'x4' mural

Marinella Hemenway, 1 brick relief

Jessica Gardner, 1 brick relief

Marinella Hemenway, lettering

Cynthia Kibler, lettering

Marinella Hemenway, small relief

Connie Kopsa, small relief

Ashley Moore, 1 brick relief

The Relief Sculpture class is a new course here at CCCC.  It is a direct result of the Cloud County Historical Society's Whole Wall, a 120'x30' continuous brick relief sculpture, being carved in the art department by professional artists Catharine Magel, St. Louis, MO and wall designer, and Mara Smith, 30+ year career brick carver from Seattle, WA.  The project took about three years to carve, with the artists coming to Concordia for three to six week periods of work, returning home for a few weeks, and then returning to Concordia to carve.  This was a monumental project in which the art department was fortunate to be such an integral part of the process.  The CCCC art students and faculty, as well as area high school art classes and community members were all able to participate in helping to carve the wall.  By the time the wall was installed and dedicated in the summer of 2009, a  proposal for adding the Relief Sculpture class was written and presented to the Instructional Services Committee that fall.  It passed with a unanimous vote and proceeded to the state for final approval.

The first class was in the spring semester of 2010.  As far as we know, this is the only class of its kind in the United States.  We were delighted that the installation of the first two carved brick benches coincided with the first class.  One is installed just outside the art department and the other is at the Poet's Grove outside the main building on campus.

This class offers a real career opportunity for artists, especially in this area of Kansas since we are also fortunate to have Cloud Ceramics brick plant at Concordia.  Cloud Ceramics has a wonderful native clay body to use for carving....some of the best in the United States.


 Cynthia and Berlin

 (left to right) Cynthia, Connie, and Cindy working at their easels

Marinella writes "love" in carving class

Monday, September 20, 2010

CCCC student work

The art students at CCCC enjoy the positive environment of our art department which helps them learn, create, and continually improve on their techniques.  They are pushed to always consider new possibilities, new styles, new techniques.  My students learn that having fun and hard work can and do go hand in hand.  This attitude helps them achieve more than they ever expected.  Enjoy the show as much as they enjoyed creating!


Carol Urban

Marinella Hemenway

Danyel Aldridge

Meghan Gunther

Kari Rundus


Ashley Moore

Ashley Moore, self portrait

Adam Grob

Paige Oplinger

Joshua Trocheck

Kari Rundus

Ashley Moore

Kari Rundus


Cindy Grover

Joshua Trocheck

view 2

Barbara Stevens' work

I have always lived in the country and felt close to the land.  My main area of concentration is handbuilt ceramic sculpture that feels rather like primitive pottery as if one has come upon it while hiking.  My decorative techniques come from engobes, saggar firings, staining and beeswax.


Saggar fired potStained potStained with beeswax finish

My new love is carved brick relief sculpture.  My first wall was 3' by 6' installed on a three foot brick basin that holds a few inches of water.  The relief sculpture is of the "Wind Spirit" and the water in the basin gives the visual of the wind.

Small 2 brick insert in brick walk.

My two-dimensional work is usually in mixed media or acrylic portraits.  My latest favorite is the portrait of my father on his 95th birthday.  I painted it in the fall of 2009 after his death, Feb. 2, 2008, a couple months before his 96th birthday.  The painting is 25 1/2" x 30 1/2".

Another favorite is the portrait of my son right after his first child's birth, a daughter, entitled "A Father's Love".  It is 18"x24".

newest brick mural of boy fishing, 4'x6', "A Good Day", Fall 2010

front view

close up of boy fishing

close up of fish

fence posts by river, fields above

tree with waterfall in background

The first bench we carved was my design but carved with the help of visiting artist, Mara Smith from Seattle, Washington.  Students were also invited to try out our new media and several assisted in a few areas.  Friends Joe, employee of the college, and CCCC art alum Carol Urban also assisted Mara and I in carving this bench.  It was a fun collaboration in which we all learned so much from Mara.

l-r: Joe Urban, Carol Urban, Richard Cyphers, Sister Ramona Medina, Mara Smith, Barbara Stevens.  Completed wet brick bench before tearing it down and sending it to Cloud Ceramics to be fired, spring, 2009.

my first brick bench installed outside art department on CCCC campus, 2 seats/front to back, back of seat carved by Joe and Carol Urban

This back, seat, front and side carved by Barbara Stevens

"Thunder" bird carved by Mara Smith, career brick carver from Seattle, Washington

side view/tree trunk carved by students

frogs by Carol Urban

Only one brick exploded when the bench bricks were sent through the flash firing at Cloud Ceramics.  Although the bench was installed last May (2010), the final brick replacement was installed this September.  James Cyphers, local brick mason and his assistant Dean have been invaluable in helping us install permanent art on our campus for the first time.  Their enthusiasm for our vision for the brick program is greatly appreciated.

James Cyphers pulling wires as he sets the last brick.

James Cyphers setting the last brick. Fall 2010

James Cyphers, brick mason and assistant Dean