Browse Exhibits (3 total)

Beyond Melted Ash: Michiana Wood Fired Pottery

Around the world, wood fired pottery has been made in many cultures and for thousands of years. However, since the industrial revolution, manufactured pottery has become cheap and widely available. Today, few people use hand-made pottery in everyday life, and even fewer know how it is made.

This exhibit explores the methods used to produce hand-made, wood fired pottery in the Michiana region: mixing clay, throwing pots on the wheel, and firing the pots in a carefully constructed kiln that can reach up to 2500°. The challenging and intense wood firing process causes wood ash to melt on the surface of the pottery, creating a beautiful and unusual glassy surface.

Wood firing in Michiana is not an endeavor to be attempted alone. The large kilns are filled with the work of multiple potters, and the work of the long firing is shared amongst many hands. The "Individual Artists Working Together" section of this exhibit features a selection of Michiana potters and the unique contributions they each make to the art and to the community.

Fieldwork for this exhibit was completed between 2012-2013. This material was also used to create an exhibit at the Mathers Museum of World Cultures on the Indiana University campus in Bloomington, Indiana, which will open on September 20th, 2013. The exhibit features a potter's studio, a model wood fired kiln, and beautiful wood fired pots by four featured artists.

Allen County Survey

Located in the northeastern corner of Indiana, Allen County is home to many traditional artists working in and around the Fort Wayne area. In this section, you can learn about the Miami Nation of Indiana, historical reenactment groups that use centuries-old artisanal techniques, local artists who work metal with their hands, and many other artists of diverse backgrounds. Find out how quilts can tell a story, why stained glass is a dangerous business, and the reason why Amish dolls have no faces.

The "Artists and Their Stories" section contains full-length interviews with all of the artists and time summaries to help readers follow along. Start here if you would like to get a brief glance at the artists of Allen County, or stay longer and listen to their life stories in depth.

Allen County was part of the I-69 Heritage Corridor project from 2005-2006. Portions of this material were also used in the website and to develop folklife programs for the region.

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Japanese Traditional Artist Survey

This collection documents several groups practicing the traditional arts and folkways of Japan within the context of the Indianapolis and Fort Wayne regions. The materials were collected as part of an ongoing project by Traditional Arts Indiana which aims to preserve and promote folklife in Indiana. In this project, special emphasis is placed on the traditions practiced in Indiana by minorities and immigrant groups. This particular collection shows the diversity of Japanese folk traditions practiced in metropolitan areas in the United States, and examines how these traditions have changed as they have been transmitted transnationally and passed generationally.

Among the participants in this study are: YuYukai (a group of Okinawan immigrants who practice the traditional dances of ryubu and eisa), the founders of Zentai Martial Arts (a registered Bujinkan dojo), a group of origimai makers who meet as the IRON Folders, kamishibai story teller Dorothy Kittaka, and the Indianapolis Minyo Dancers, Inc. (who perform the traditional dance style, minyo).
Fieldwork conducted between 9/12/2009-3/12/2011
Languages: English and Japanese