Thanks to the recommendation of Dr. Jones, I had the great pleasure of attending the
as a scholarship recipient earlier this month. The symposium, hosted by the Museum of Early Southern Decorative Arts (MESDA), was held in Winston-Salem, North Carolina, a region rich in ceramic history that can be traced back to the pottery production of 18th century Moravian settlers. The symposium was a two-and-a-half-day event consisting of a series of lectures with topics ranging from Errol Manner’s talk on the legacy and mysterious world of redware, to Chinese porcelain export figurines, and terracotta fish tanks from Victorian era New England. The highlight of MESDA was the William C. and Susan S. Mariner Southern Ceramics Gallery, home to an impressively comprehensive display of early American southern ceramics including Solomon Bell’s 19th century lion figure, the unofficial mascot of the museum. Artists Paul Scott and Michelle Erickson gave talks on their work which is heavily influenced by historical ceramics. Symposium participants included artists, museum professionals, collectors, scholars, historians, dealers, and auction house professionals from an impressive array of intuitions such as the Met, the Peabody Essex Museum, Winterthur, Sotheby’s, Skinner, and Christie’s. Several students were in attendance although I was the only undergraduate. The symposium was an incredible opportunity where I was able to open my mind to different methods of structuring and presenting research, and potential career paths. Everyone I met made me feel incredibly welcomed and I was reminded once again of happy I am to be a part of the ceramics community.
- Mackenzie McDonald, Art History and Theory BS Candidate