The International Chawan Expo Project arrives at MTSU's Todd Art Gallery, Monday, November 30, 2015. With an opening reception scheduled 5-7 p.m. that evening the work remains in place through December 8.
Initiated by Belgium's Lou Smedts, the Chawan Project was started in 2005 as a nonprofit platform for artists that share a passion for Chawan (a tea cup used in traditional eastern tea ceremonies). Whether artists of renowned or everyday labor their draw to using and making Chawan continues to enrich and enliven their artistic passion for the earth-friendly processes incorporated into each piece of their work.
Explaining how the project came to be Smedts states, "I thought ...it ...time to start a project with the most simple [and] useful object, with little commercial value, a tea bowl. Nobody was waiting for a tea bowl exhibition in the museums the ceramists I contacted told me. So, I went to the museums to convince them that tea bowls are unique art objects. And surprisingly the directors listened and opened their doors."
With that traveling exhibitions began. In the project's 10 years the list of hosting nations has included: Belgium, The Netherlands, Singapore, Taiwan, France, Japan, Croatia, Korea, and Massachusetts in the United States.
Further explaining his reasoning Smedts stated, "... mass production gives customers the opportunity to renew their tableware every year, which is pretty much a waste of natural resources. After all natural resources are not inexhaustible and mass production turns our world into a garbage dump. ...Because of the growing awareness of this problem, more and more people prefer to buy unique products made with respect for the material and the environment."
Another of the project's primary goals is to make people more aware of recycling and environmental friendly ways of working & firing ceramics. Highly needed in a world full of pollution, "Working with nature instead of against it," is a project motto.
With that in mind, Interim Department of Art Chair and MTSU Ceramics Professor, Marisa Recchia, a contributor to recent Chawan exhibits "took responsibility in the 1 United States for this upcoming exhibit...which lets me continue my efforts to focus on the projects future," Smedts concluded.
As a further part of Recchia's efforts Japanese master potter Masakazu Kusakabe, who guided construction of the department's eco-friendly and highly efficient smokeless kiln in 2012 is returning to participate in the exhibit's earth-friendly activities.
MTSU Graphic Design has also been involved through instructor, Sheri Selph's Portfolio II class which designed posters and a social media campaign. A catalog will also be printed as promotion for this once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for campus and the broader community. In total, the work of 68 artists from all corners of the globe are involved; showcasing work from Austria, Belgium, Canada, Croatia, France, Germany, India, Israel, Japan, Netherlands, Singapore, Slovenia, South Africa, Spain, Switzerland, Taiwan, Thailand, Turkey, and the United States.
All Todd Art Gallery exhibits, lectures, and receptions are free and open to the public.
For directions, parking, and other questions contact firstname.lastname@example.org or 615-898- 5532.