March 22, 2016
'Ceramics is so much more than pinch pots and coil building'
By Cindi Deutschman-Ruiz
There’s magic in two-dimensional art. In the hands of an artist, a flat medium can be transformed by images of such beauty and depth that they seem to vibrate off the surface. And when the wonder of two-dimensional art meets a third dimension, an even greater transformation occurs.
Students in CIA’s summer Pre-College program will have the opportunity to experience that alchemy firsthand in a course called Image + Form.
Team taught by faculty in printmaking and ceramics, the course will give students the opportunity to work with a variety of 2D and 3D media, learning to use each medium individually and in combination.
That approach is second nature for faculty member Amy Sinbondit. She has been working across multiple media (and multiple dimensions) for many years, beginning with some of her earliest work in jewelry and metals, where she mocked up her work in paper to save money.
Sinbondit applies a similar technique when it comes to ceramics. She uses different types of material, from tarpaper to manila envelope stock, which she enjoys “because it’s stiff-ish, so you can put a little crease into it.”
Sinbondit’s long association with paper has had a broader impact on her work, to the point where her ceramic pieces often take on certain characteristics of paper, with bends, folds and wrinkles that themselves occasionally resemble letters and symbols.
Sinbondit fell in love with art in early childhood. Her strong and abiding interest was nurtured with regular family trips to art museums. On entering college, she didn’t know what she wanted to do, so she “just kept taking art.”
“The first class I took was ceramics,” she says, “and I stuck with it.”
These days, when working with students, she focuses on helping them find out what makes them tick. “What I like to do with every student is really get to know them, and try to figure out, ‘What do you like? What do you not like? And how do you translate that into your work?’ ”
More specifically, she aims to show students that they can take their existing skills in any number of directions. Paintings, drawings and photographs can all be printed on a high-resolution printer and be fired permanently onto a piece of artwork. And that’s just one direction they could go, Sinbondit says.
“If we screen print, we’re going to take those screens, print on paper, bring those prints up to ceramics and print on ceramics,” she says. Then, “we’ll form them into additional three-dimensional shapes,” she says, and incorporate still more techniques and media, such as wood blocks, linocuts or embossing.
For Sinbondit, the Image + Form course provides a welcome opportunity to instill in students a lesson she learned long ago, that “ceramics is so much more than pinch pots and coil building.”
“I want to show them that ceramics can be more than what they ever experienced before.”
To register for CIA’s Pre-College program, visit cia.edu/precollege.
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