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Millikin University - Decatur, IL
Dave Gendry 
 

Ceramics
Alumnus, 1960

Inspiration for my work can come from any one of a variety of sources.  Sometimes a classical from might be an influence while other times a form or texture from nature might have an influence.  In fact, I’ve been told more than once that my work has an organic quality.  All of my pieces have a combination of functional and aesthetic purposes.  The clay medium makes this possible because there are so many different things you can do with clay to affect the final product.

The majority of my pieces are either high-fired stoneware or raku-fired works, although occasionally I’ll produce something in porcelain or even low-fired earth ware.  Whatever the type of clay or firing process used, there is always a common denominator involved.  That is the fact that it is pure pleasure for me to work with this stuff.  There are so many variations in methods, materials, techniques and tolls that the end results are virtually unlimited.  This, to me, is what makes working in ceramics so exciting.

Wheel-throwing is the predominant techniques I use in building my pieces, but hand-building techniques are also used.  Once of my favorite forms, platters that can be used for serving or as wall hangings are made using a combination of the wheel-throwing and slab-building techniques.  Then, the large area for the serving surface becomes a canvas, so to speak, for a multitude of decorating techniques, including glazes, under glazes, slips, textures and attachments.

My ultimate goal is to create pieces which give functional and visual enjoyment to the end user.  Mugs for coffee, a tea bowl for you favorite tea, or a vase for a bung of daisies are examples of simple functions a piece can perform.  The design I create enables this and, hopefully, also provides a pleasing and visual appearance.  If people have as much fun using my pieces as I have making them then I guess I couldn’t ask for much more. 

I was born and raised in Decatur, Illinois and received a degree in business administration from Millikin University.  Since a very young age I have been interested in art; however, I have never had any formal training in visual art until my senior communications executive noticed my doodles during a staff meeting and encouraged me to take a formal drawing course at the university level.  Eventually, it led me to take more art courses and, finally, a degree in art education from Illinois State University.  While studying at ISU, I was introduced to ceramics at the University of Illinois-Springfield. 

While working in Wisconsin, I had exhibits in Green Bay, Stevens Point, Scandinavia and Waupaca.  Since returning to Illinois and retiring from teaching, I have had exhibits of my work in Charleston, Decatur, Normal, Springfield, Sullivan, Peoria and Taylorville.

 
 
Millikin University - Decatur, IL
 
Millikin University - Decatur, IL
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