Five questions with KU Arts professor Marshall Maude
Visual Art / Ceramics
Hometown: Topeka, Kansas
When/how did you get interested in ceramics?
When I was growing up - maybe five or eight - I first became aware of clay. I spent summers with my grandparents who lived on a lake. My grandmother took me to the "big" beach to swim and dive and play in the sand. To the left of the big dock with its diving boards and swimming lanes was a large undeveloped patch of weeds and cattails. While the others were swimming and diving, I spent time exploring this area. I first felt the clay between my toes just below the water. I dug it out with my hands; it was soft and malleable - different than dirt or mud. I knew I could make something from it, and I did. I made pots - clunky pots - and dried them on the stairs of the big dock. I didn't know you could fire clay, but I found out that the sun would transform these soft pots into something pretty hard. At the end of the day, I would put them back into the water and watch the water reclaim it into the soft clay where it began.
Why did you become a professor?
After four years as a practicing professional artist, I discovered I wanted to be part of something larger. I wanted to be a part of the energy found in a communal studio environment where ideas and experimentation are discussed and actualized.
What's your favorite thing about teaching?
Mentoring students - seeing them learn, fail, struggle and ultimately find their own unique path and voice.
What inspires you?
I don't think only one thing inspires me - being lost, desert landscapes, international travel, ceramics history, cultural and human connection points. I try to see the world with open eyes and challenge myself intellectually and physically.
What's the last book you read for fun?
"Slaughterhouse Five," by Kurt Vonnegut
Images from Maude's recent show, "Look Again," at the Leedy-Voulkos Gallery in Kansas City.