The Heliker-LaHotan Foundation and Great Cranberry Island Historical Society will host ceramic artist Stephen Rodriguez’ ‘Show & Sale’ from 4 to 6 p.m. on Saturday, August 16 and 3 to 6 p.m. on Sunday August 17 at the Longfellow School Arts Studio on Great Cranberry Island.
The pottery of Stephen Rodriguez involves endless exploration of handmade clay formulas and high-fire stoneware ranging from black to earth tones to porcelain. He fires in a gas kiln and often uses ash of different woods to give a cast of “light” or green glassy-ness over glazes to enhance the forms. Stephen has made a long-time commitment to mastering the expressive and proportional nuances of the classical forms of vases and bowls. They are utilitarian yet individually worked with esthetic presence in mind.
Rodriguez’ brings west to east both geographically – from growing up in Los Angeles to settling in CT; and by inspiration – from Mexican-American roots towards a discipline in regard mostly to the tradition of ceramic art in Asia. His pottery training started close to home at Rio Hondo College in Los Angeles in 1974, and continued at Alfred University in New York State. Stephen is Dept. Head of Ceramics at Creative Art Workshop in New Haven, CT, and annually shows on the Blue Hill Peninsula in Maine. He received a Connecticut Arts Commission Fellowship in 2004 and his pottery is represented by galleries in New York, Massachusetts and Maine. Alongside pottery making and teaching, Stephen also builds down-draft kilns. This is a special opportunity for Maine summer residents to acquire one of his unique vessels in the Downeast region.
The Roberts family has again generously donated use of Island ceramicist Janet Roberts’ pottery on the Island’s wild backshore to make Rodriguez’ residency possible for 2014. Following this show and sale of high-fire wares, Rodriguez will spend the month with low-fire and experimental methods at the Roberts Pottery and he will open his studio at the end of the month.
Twentieth-century artists John Heliker and Robert LaHotan, who painted in New York and Maine for more than 50 years, established the organization that bears their names in New York City in 1993. In 2002, Robert LaHotan bequeathed their properties and studios on Great Cranberry Island for artists to spend month-long residencies in Maine. Since 2006, more than 114 residencies have been awarded in fulfillment of LaHotan’s vision. This year, the Foundation is celebrating the Twentieth Year since its inception by inviting a special group of prior residents to return to the island in July and August.
Ferries from Northeast Harbor and Southwest Harbor to GCI connect with the Cranberry Explorer shuttle to the Longfellow School. The public is invited to this free event, and refreshments will be available.