Teapot, print exhibit showcase Kansas artists’ work


Here is the handle, and here is the spout, but otherwise, these don’t look like ordinary teapots. Each is distinguishable in color, shape and size.

Dozens of teapots are on display as a part of the “Pleasures: Prints and Teapots by Kansas Artists” exhibit at Strecker-Nelson Gallery.

Ester Ikeda, former Manhattan Arts Center instructor, and Yoshiro Ikeda, professor of art, both have teapots in the exhibit. Ester said she and her husband each have a different sculpting technique.

“He likes rough, very dry (teapots),” Ester said. “You can’t use it. His is more of a sculpture. Mine is of a form. You can use it for tea, water or coffee.”

She said her pieces also exhibit more design than Yoshiro’s.

Ester said only eight of 10 of her ceramic pieces regularly survive the entire pottery process without breaking. However, she said she still enjoys pottery because it is a project that anyone can do, regardless of appearance.

“Anybody can do it – ugly or beautiful,” Ester said.

She said she also likes the challenge that comes in sculpting clay pieces.

“It’s soft and can mold any way you want it to mold,” Ester said. “It seems easy, but it is hard.”

Angelo C. Garzio, a former K-State professor, said he feels pottery is what made him who he is today. When he was in school at the University of Iowa, he took courses to earn his doctorate so he could become an art history professor.

To do so, he had to learn German, Latin and Hungarian. Garzio said Hungarian was the most difficult to learn.

To relieve the associated stress, he enrolled in a ceramics class, because he had heard excellent feedback about the course. There, Garzio finally found his passion, he said, but he decided to earn his degree anyway.

“It’s a part of my being. If I weren’t making pots, I wouldn’t be alive,” Garzio said.

Like Ester, Garzio said he finds joy in the challenge of the task and hopes his pottery will be used accordingly.

“I would like to think that they would be used by a fellow man with gentle care and love,” Garzio said.

The exhibit also displayed a number of prints, including etchings, lithographs or monotypes.

When Rachel Melis, assistant professor of art, was asked by the gallery’s owners, Barbara and Jay Nelson, to show her she prints, she said she felt honored.

“It is an honor to be asked to be in a Strecker-Nelson show, because the gallery has an excellent reputation and because the owners choose thoughtful and thought-provoking themes for their shows,” Melis said.