WMU News

Pewabic Pottery author lectures at KIA

Nov. 5, 2003

KALAMAZOO -- Pewabic Pottery--it's as Michigan as a Ford car and as old as Western Michigan University.

This ceramic art form, which flourished in the Detroit area for decades, will be the topic of WMU's next Centennial Scholar and Artist Series lecture at 9:30 a.m. Wednesday, Nov. 12, in the Kalamazoo Institute of Arts auditorium.

During the talk, Marcy Heller Fisher, author of "Fired Magic: Detroit's Pewabic Pottery Treasures," will discuss her book, the pottery's history and the art pottery movement in Michigan.

Pewabic Pottery was perfected by Detroit's Mary Chase Perry Stratton in 1903 and represents one of three historic Arts and Crafts Period pottery techniques used in the United States. Pottery and tiles done in this technique are known for their handmade and iridescent glazes using rose, green, gold, purple and copper.

The story of Pewabic Pottery can be told by taking a tour of Detroit, and this is exactly the approach Fisher takes in her book.

Written as a narrative, the book traces the Motor City's Pewabic history through the eyes of Angie as she discovers the town's various tile installations, from the mosaic tiles adorning various museums, churches and fireplaces to more modern examples in the murals of Detroit's People Mover Stations.

Fisher's lecture also will take participants on a Kalamazoo Pewabic tour.

"We'll be visiting art pottery installations in the area, including a stop at the fireplace in WMU's Walwood Hall," says Fisher.

A Detroit native, Fisher is the author of a series of books on the cultural heritage of Michigan, including "The Outdoor Museum: The Magic of Michigan's Marshall M. Fredericks," and is a recipient of the Save Outdoor Sculpture Award from the Smithsonian American Art Museum and Heritage Preservation. Her forthcoming book is "Painting for the People: Diego Rivera's Detroit Industry Frescoes."

The Centennial Scholar and Artist series has been in the making for more than a year and represents an exciting lineup of lectures, performances and presentations.

Guests for the series are national and international achievers in arts and culture, business, education, government, health, science and other areas. Several are WMU graduates and others have longstanding ties to Kalamazoo.

The events, which are intended to draw participants from campus and the extended community, are underwritten in part by the WMU Centennial Committee, with additional sponsorship by units at WMU such as University Archives and Regional History Collections; the Diether H. Haenicke Institute for International and Area Studies; the Haworth College of Business, Lee Honors College, and colleges of Arts and Sciences, Aviation, Education, Engineering and Applied Sciences, Fine Arts, and Health and Human Services. Other collaborators include the Kalamazoo Symphony Orchestra and the Kalamazoo Institute of Arts.

Media contact: Matt Gerard, 269 387-8400, matthew.gerard@wmich.edu

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