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September Issue 2006

Appalachian State University in Boone, NC, Features Residency with Danish Artist, Nina Hole and Related Exhibit

On Sept. 23, 2006, the public is invited to the dramatic climax of the Nina Hole artist residency. This event is the culmination of 15 days of building an architectural-size clay sculpture with three teams of students and faculty from five North Carolina institutions on a site in front of Wey Hall, on the Appalachian State University campus in Boone, NC. After three days of feeding wood into the fire box at the base of the sculpture the temperature peaks at around 2,000 degrees. When the sky darkens, around 8pm, with the sculpture at its highest temperature, Hole will pull off the refractory fabric covering exposing a huge glowing form ­ a Fire Sculpture.  

For this exciting residency, Danish clay artist Nina Hole and her assistant Ann-Charlotte Ohlsson, will work with three alternating teams, over fifteen days, to construct the 15-20 foot high ASU Fire Sculpture. The site of the residency is in front of Wey Hall, Appalachian State University Art Department, in Boone. The three teams are made up of students and faculty from: Appalachian State University, UNC Asheville, Western Carolina University, Haywood Community College Professional Crafts Program and Penland School of Crafts. The public is invited to visit the site during the day beginning Sept. 9, as students and faculty work with Hole and her assistant to construct the sculpture. Students were selected to participate in the residency from applications to their institution following a Nov. 2005 site visit by Hole to all institutions involved. 

Starting in 1994 Hole began experimenting with new construction techniques and materials made possible by the space program. Her goal was to be able to go anywhere and build monumental ceramic sculpture that could be built and fired within one to two weeks. Hole has been invited to western North Carolina to design and create one of these public sculptures.

Hole's basic building block is an extruded large clay unit shaped like a "J". Highwater Clay of Asheville, NC, is donating over 3 tons of clay specially mixed for the project. With the help of the faculty and students in the residency, these building blocks are stacked and joined, each row off-set over the row below to create gaps between. Visually the checkerboard gaps are lyrical; functionally the gaps allow the flames, during the wood firing, to circulate throughout the piece assuring even heating of the sculpture. 

The architectural form is created over a brick foundation that doubles as a kiln floor. When the construction is complete, the whole piece is wrapped in a soft white high-temperature refractory fabric. This serves as the outside of the kiln. The firing of the sculpture will begin on Sept. 21, with wood stoked into the firebox at the base continuously until the piece is orange hot. The public is invited to join the final firing on the evening of Sept. 23 at about 8pm if weather and firing cooperate - when Hole pulls off the refractory fabric exposing a huge glowing form. Students in the residency who have worked many hours on the project will have packets of sawdust and copper that they will throw on the sculpture and it is "unveiled" creating a hundred sparkling fireworks - to give the sculpture color as it cools. 

Hole has created Fire Sculptures around the world - each unique as they are designed to respond to the "sense-of-place" in the surrounding region. Hole lives in Skaelskor, Denmark, with her husband, a US designer she met while studying at Fredonia State College (now SUNY Fredonia) in New York. Hole also studied at the Ceramic Studio in New York; Glypototek's Art School and the Art and Craft School, both in Copenhagen. She is on the Ceramic Advisory Board for the International Ceramic Research Center she helped found in her home town of Skaelskor, and is represented in Copenhagen with her smaller sculptures by Galleri Norby. 
The Nina Hole Residency is the second international residency coordinated by the Center for Craft, Creativity and Design, an inter-institutional center of the University of North Carolina, following the 2003 David Nash (Wales) international residency in wood. This project received support from the North Carolina Arts Council, an agency funded by the State of North Carolina and the National Endowment for the Arts, which believes that a great nation deserves great art, and the Scandinavian-American Foundation. Appalachian State University has also provided generous support for the project and Highwater Clay of Asheville donated 300 pounds of clay.

As a compliment to the Nina Hole residency, Architectural Echoes in Clay, an exhibition of work by 14 US and Canadian wood fire clay artists will be on display in two sites. The main exhibition, curated by Judith Duff, will be in the galleries of the residency sponsor, the UNC Center for Craft, Creativity and Design, in Hendersonville, NC, on view from Sept. 19 through Nov. 10, 2006. The other exhibit will take place at the Catherine J. Smith Gallery in Boone, on view from Sept. 11 through Nov. 10, 2006.

For further information check our NC Institutional Gallery listings, call the gallery at 828/262-7338 and e-mail at (servonjm@appstate.edu). Check (www.craftcreativitydesign.org) for daily updates on the progress of the sculpture or call the ASU Art Department at 828/262-2220.



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