Along with Peter Olsen of Seward Park Clay Studio, Beth identified potters from across the country to invite to participate in this one-of-a-kind exhibition. Peter told us, “[KOBO co-owner and director] Binko and I choose co-curators each year to bring another voice to the choosing of artist’s work. This year’s co-curator, Beth Lo, has taught for many years and knows many people I don’t.”
Beth had a cross cultural upbringing, born in Lafayette, Indiana, to parents who had recently immigrated from China. She writes, “My work in ceramics revolves primarily around issues of family and my Asian-American background. Cultural marginality and blending, tradition and Westernization, language and translation are key elements in my work.”
She studied art at the University of Montana under the distinguished ceramic artist Rudy Autio. Beth assumed his job as Professor of Ceramics when he retired in 1985, a position she holds to this day. She has exhibited her work internationally, and has received numerous honors, including a National Endowment for the Arts Visual Artist Fellowship and an American Craft Museum Design Award.
Beth was kind enough to answer a few of our questions about the Simple Cup Show:
The Simple Cup show has been called “a unique take on a common object”. Why cups?
Cups are intimate, useful, expressive and inexpensive ceramics. You hold a cup in one or both hands, and put it to your lips. Many ceramic artists find them relaxing to make, and find making cups a good format to try out ideas in their work. Potters often exchange them or have cup collections. I think that the high value that Japanese place on their traditional teabowls has influenced many potters as well.
What do you look for when selecting artists?
I look for a unique touch or vision, good craftsmanship and warmth. As for my personal taste, I chose a lot of artists who use drawing skills and color in their work.
I can imagine being a bit intimidated to use one of the beautiful cups on display. Do you have any thoughts about using handmade ceramics at home?
I think my favorite kind of ceramics to use in the home are cups. They are objects to contemplate as you drink your coffee, or water. Handmade cups slow you down!