Margeaux Claude poured ginger tea into a small ceramic cup that she made during her undergraduate education.
“If you visit the studio of a vessel maker, it’s only appropriate that you should be offered a cup of tea in a handmade pot,” Claude said.
Claude is the new Assistant Professor of Ceramics at Eastern Michigan University’s School of Art & Design, hired onto the 3D faculty this fall.
“There is a deep history of ceramics at Eastern. I am looking forward to learning and sharing with students,” Claude said. “It is a very special time for 3D art and design, and ceramics at Eastern.”
EMU’s Ceramics Studio currently shares a building with Central Receiving, but by fall 2024, ceramics and all 3D art and design subjects will be located at the Windgate Arts Complex. This means that ceramics, sculpture, furniture, digital fabrication, and 3D design will be under the same roof.
The years and work it has taken to realize this facility and to set the Windgate Arts Complex in motion cannot be overstated. Involved in this process was School of Art & Design Director Sandra Murchison, the EMU Foundation, the Board of Regents working with the Windgate Foundation, friends of the School of Art & Design, and Claude’s colleagues.
“My colleagues and I are so excited for the collaboration and interdisciplinary work that can and will unfold as a result of this facility,” Claude said.
Students will be able to experiment across a variety of mediums and gain important skills through a fine arts education.
“One of the things I like to dispel as an educator is the idea that we are born with creative talent,” Claude said. “What I love about clay and ceramics is that it takes a level of dedication and commitment. It requires persistent engagement, it has a personality.”
Claude latched onto that challenge.
Claude describes her typical creative process as “work.” Ceramics as an art form as well as a career is difficult to master.
“My creative process is not usually a linear one," Claude said. "It is generated by learning and asking questions of myself and the material. I often read or encounter information in archival research and then I respond to that information in my studio."
Even as an established artist and teacher, Claude continues to learn and grow every day.
Growing up in Minnesota, Claude was drawn to the hand-made ceramic traditions of the Minnesota River Valley. Now, the "intersection of industry and art” inspires her most.
Born to creative parents, Claude first experienced clay in kindergarten making pinch pots. At 14 years old, Claude began working on a kick wheel and was captivated by the idea that “each time you throw, you’re engaging with a lineage, a history.” This was comforting to her.
“There was always a deep appreciation in my family for craft and making things, so I feel I was fortunate to be encouraged as a child,” Claude said.
Claude received her BFA from the Kansas City Art Institute and her MFA from the New York State College of Ceramics at Alfred University.
Her most recent work was on display in the exhibition “Fragments: pieces of time and place” at the International Ceramics Studio’s Kapolna Gallery in Kecskemet, Hungary. This work and exhibition was a culmination of time spent in research during her experience as a Fulbright Scholar.
“This was my second time working as a Fulbright fellow researching intersections of manufacturing and craft in European ceramic design and more recently expanding the scope of that work to architectural ceramics,” Claude said.
Claude plans to continue supporting ceramics through her research and aims to not only teach, but also inspire her students.
She is currently working on a project with the National Council on the Education for Ceramic Art (NCECA) while collaborating with professors at the New York State College of Ceramics at Alfred University to "build and facilitate a platform for researchers to present material research in ceramics.”
A three-person exhibition at the University of Mississippi alongside EMU Professor Amy Sacksteder and artist Jodi Hays is also in the works for this spring.
View Margeaux Claude’s work at her website, www.margeauxclaude.com, on Instagram @margeaux_claude, or take a class with her through the School of Art & Design.