"From Earth to Art" Celebrates the Many Sides of Art

Wedge participant Diana Keef-Adams at work on a ceramic project.
Rebecca A. Eckland

If the words “art” and “play” don’t seem to go together, you might want to make a trip the TMCC Main Art Gallery where a special group exhibition “From Earth to Art” shows what can happen when artists challenge each other to think “outside of the box.” The exhibition, which will be on display August 26 through September 3, 2019, features artists from The Wedge Ceramics Studio, which was started by owners Sutter and Samantha Stremmel. 

A group of artists who work at The Wedge, including Sutter and Samantha Stremmel, Joan Arrizabalaga, Marti Bein and Jon Carpenter call themselves “Wedge Outside the Box.” These artists work together, produce work and create art exhibitions that run the gamut of artistic media—from ceramics to oil paints. “There are also about sixty or so artists who show their work with us, most of whom are not Wedge members. This show, [From Earth to Art] showcases both ‘Wedge Outside the Box’ artists and Wedge artists,” said Marti Bein. What is common to all “Wedge Outside the Box” exhibitions, though, is their tendency to step outside of the typical conventions of fine art to showcase collaboration, creativity and the forgotten fact that art can be fun. 

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Joan playing Jon Carpenter’s didgeridoo created for the musical instrument challenge. All instruments had to play music.

The artwork that will be displayed in “From Earth to Art” came from weekly challenges that followed weekly themes. “The [idea to have] challenges probably came about through the imaginings of Sutter with Jacy plotting,” said Joan Arrizabalaga, Wedge member and Outside-the-Box founder. 

The challenges participating artists faced were varied: to create a piece with a certain texture, a unique kind of ceramic glazing or to create a whimsical musical instrument that could actually create music. “The pieces I’m contributing are textured, hand-built, thrown & altered,” said Dana Veltman, who is a Wedge member and “From Earth to Art” participant.  “I also used previously fired smashed ceramics and leather cord. [This was] definitely a challenge and time consuming but I loved it! The best part of the Wedge is working and collaborating with other artists with different interests. I’ve learned so much from them.”

Participant Janet McWorkman was able to challenge herself through the tension of meeting the weekly challenges while remaining true to her aesthetic. “I like impressions, textures, and irregular edges. I want my pieces to reflect both utility and quality missing [in objects you can buy] in big-box stores.” And, working with others in a studio setting—and particularly at The Wedge—is something she enjoys. “I work much better and spent more time at pottery when working with like-minded people. We have a blast at The Wedge,” she said.

The “From Earth to Art” includes pieces that are the result of the months of creative work turning earth into teapots, platters, musical instruments, birdhouses, and carved vessels. Complementing the three-dimensional ceramic art are original paintings of Nevada landscapes by Tuscarora artists Ron Arthaud and Sidne Teske. 

The artist reception for this exhibition will be held on Wednesday, August 28, from 5–7 p.m. in the TMCC Main Gallery, located in the Student Center on the Dandini Campus. Refreshments will be served and the exhibition is free and open to the public.

For more information, check for updates on the TMCC Galleries Facebook page, or contact TMCC Art Galleries Curator Aimee Kelly at 775-673-7233.