Friday, September 18, 2009

Eric Hoefer and Peggy Peak at the Fair

I went to dueling art fairs last weekend, the Saint Louis Art Fair and Art Outside. They aren’t really in competition but they do run at the same time. It was cool to find Art Outside promoted on the Saint Louis Art Fair web site. It was also nice to see local craft beers welcome there again. The music included some of Saint Louis’s best blues players, Rich McDonough along with my favorite harp player, Eric McSpadden. Schlafly beer was, of course, available at Art Outside, since they sponsor it. There was an all girl country/folk band there playing the fiddle parts with a clarinet and making it work.
I am very near to reaching a dream I have had for years, my own ceramics studio. Located in Overland, it will operate in an open studio format. It is to be called “LampLight Studio”. Naturally, I took great interest in all of the ceramic work at the fairs. There was quite a bit of it.
At the Saint Louis Art Fair, I had the pleasure of speaking with Eric Hoefer. “Eric Hoefer, originally from upstate New York, received his MFA from Southern Illinois University/Edwardsville in the Summer of 2004. He received a BFA from Syracuse University in 1999.
Eric is primarily a potter who uses utility, and at times, elaborate constructions to create architectonic functional pots. His interest in historical Asian pottery and architecture combine to make compelling formal statements.”
He works in white stoneware using soda fired and also standard reduction firing. The work is both wheel thrown and hand built. Often it is a bit of both. Inspired by Architect Frank Gerhy, some of the work is whimsical. He sometimes focuses on the “negative space”, directing ones attention on the area around the piece. The work is done in earth tones with the glazing working not above or beneath the piece but in unison with it. Where soda is used, it is used lightly. The pieces are meticulously crafted.
Peggy Peak showed an interesting variety of raku and porcelain ceramics at Art Outside. She mixes glazes for Craft Alliance so it is not surprising that she would have such a wonderful variety of beautifully glazed pieces. This piece has a satin finish. The glaze is called “milstone green”. Peggy found it in an old Ceramics magazine. Although I love “Ohio State White”, it seems to be in the palette of every potter in town. It is good to see some different glazes introduced into the mix. There were a couple of other things I found really nice about Peggy’s work. The variety of types and styles showed a great deal of experience. She has worked through many phases in her career as a studio potter. Also related to her experience is the craftsmanship she exhibits. Not only are the works masterfully crafted, they are artistically refined.