Acclaimed potter Jeffrey Oestreich will demonstrate his work and give an illustrated artist’s talk Thursday, March 15, at Western Carolina University.
Oestreich will demonstrate clay-forming techniques from 9:30 a.m. to noon and 1:30 to 3 p.m. in the Ward Clay Studio, Room 151 of the John W. Bardo Fine and Performing Arts Center. Beginning at 4 p.m. he will deliver an illustrated artist’s talk in Room 130 of the Bardo Arts Center. A WCU Fine Art Museum Third Thursday wine and appetizer reception for Oestreich will be held at 5 p.m. in the arts center atrium, where a small exhibit of his work will be on display. All events are free and the public is invited.
Oestreich’s geometrically designed functional pottery is primarily salt or soda fired stoneware. A native of Taylors Fall, Minn., Oestreich was introduced to ceramics while in college by craft potter Warren MacKenzie. After earning his degree, he apprenticed for two years with British studio potter and teacher Bernard Leach.
“Function is at my core,” Oestreich said of his work. While inspired by the art deco movement and the pottery of Japan and Germany, “All things considered, my approach is American, borrowing from as many sources as speak to me,” he said.
Oestreich has exhibited extensively throughout the country and abroad, and his work is included in the collections of the Everson Museum of Art, Syracuse, N.Y.; the Victoria and Albert Museum, London; and the Taipei Fine Arts Museum, Taiwan, among others. In 1986 he received a visual arts grant from the National Endowment for the Arts.
Oestreich’s visit to WCU – his third – is funded by the university’s Randall and Susan Parrott Ward Endowed Fund for Ceramics. While on campus, he will work closely with ceramics students, making pottery beside them in the studio, answering questions and discussing their work.
“Jeff is a particular friend of the clay studio,” said Joan Byrd, ceramics professor in the WCU School of Art and Design. “He is a highly creative artist and an exceptional teacher. It is a particular pleasure to welcome him to campus again.”