By AUTUMN HAZELET – On Wednesday, November 16, the Art Department at Indiana Area Senior High School received a very special guest.
Donn Hedman, owner of Hedman Pottery in Smicksburg, is a former IUP ceramics professor.
For the past 35 years, he has worked with clay and garnering many outside cultural influences to better his craft, including travelling to Africa to learn about various African pottery styles and techniques.
Many artists, especially the young students eager to learn, would agree that such outside experiences can influence the craft greatly, allowing one to grow creatively.
For the visit, Hedman sat at the pottery wheel while discussing his artistic process. He brought with him a couple of pieces he has made in the past to show the students, including some of his earlier work. During his presentation, he displayed and demonstrated several techniques of throwing clay in new and interesting ways.
“Being an art student that loves every aspect of the artistic process, I love working with clay,” states Ashleigh Bowman, a senior planning on studying art in college. “It was very fascinating,” she excitedly tells of a particular demonstration from the day where Hedman demonstrated his technique for making an oval-shaped casserole dish.
“I learned a lot,” comments senior Rose Mazey, “but most helpful was how to remove all of the slurry and be able to pick the piece up right off the wheel with your dry hands.”
Many of the students have seen quite a few of Hedman’s works displayed at the Artists Hand Gallery in downtown Indiana, and more now hope to visit his studio to see his skillful process and amazing work.
Hedman’s pieces can be found in museums, art centers, and galleries throughout the country.
At the end of the day, some of what he had created was scrapped, to which the class let out a gasp at the demise of such magnificent pieces. Hedman too, left some other pieces that day for the students to refer to for their future works.
Art teacher Arlene Miller was also thrilled to work with the guest artist remarking, “It was nice to have a professional potter come in and reinforce and validate the concepts and techniques we teach throughout the year in our Contemporary Pottery classes.”
Contemporary Pottery is a relatively new course offered by the Art Department, and, so far, student response has been very favorable, with more and more students showing interest.
Overall, the Art students thoroughly enjoyed learning new techniques and ideas from a master of his craft.
[PHOTO BY DYLAN LATORE]