Two works by teacher and artist Ursula Fries-Herfort P’14 '17 have been selected by one of the top ceramic exhibitions in the country. The exhibition, Strictly Functional Pottery National, is unique in that is provides an opportunity for functional pots and wares to receive much-deserved recognition.
“Just getting into this show was a huge thing, and then I had two pieces accepted,” says Fries-Herfort, who will travel to Lancaster, PA, for the show. “When I started making pots this is something I really wanted to accomplish.”
Her first piece, Mater Bavarica or “Mother Bavaria” in Latin, is a nod to her native Germany. The free-hand porcelain pot features a lid inspired by the onion towers of Bavaria and traditional Bavarian colors of blue and white representing the sky and clouds. Free-form diamonds are also associated as a Bavarian pattern and the piece represents the opulence of the last king, King Ludwig, who is remembered for building Bavaria’s castles.
Her second entry is a set of mugs she created after returning from a trip to Greece. She describes them as “very organized with bands of pattern.” They’re glazed in celadon with an intricate carving in porcelain.
At Kimball Union, Fries-Herfort offers introduction to ceramics, ceramics, independent capstone projects, and pottery activity. She also works with the Art Scholars program and teaches a jewelry class. Her students often go on to show in local and national exhibitions.
“I’ve had students whose work was absolutely amazing. I don’t make as much of my own work, in that working with students is a creative outlet in and of itself.”
Coincidentally, Fries-Herfort features Roberto Lugo, a juror for Strictly Functional in a unit around diversity in her introduction to ceramics course. Lugo, a Philadelphia artist of Puerto-Rican heritage, “uses porcelain as his medium of choice, illuminating its aristocratic surface with imagery of poverty, inequality, and social and racial injustice.”