Alumnus Kevin Templeton molds a future

By Kristina Willis

One has never seen an art class so silent.  Seventh period ceramics, a class of merely 20, crowded around a single wheel on January 14.  Focused on the level instructions of the guest artist, the voices of the audience were non-existent, aside from the numerous questions directed at the guest.  Kevin Templeton, a Tam alumni, captured their full attention.

It has taken Kevin a lot of practice and perseverance to get to where he is today as a freshmen at Alfred University.  During his total of seven art classes at Tam, Kevin fell in love with the art of throwing.    He practiced constantly by not only taking multiple classes, but also throwing at lunch and conducting outside research at home.  “It takes a lot of practice,” Kevin said. “A lot of ceramics is just constantly trying to improve yourself by making things you’ve never made before.”

As a sophomore, Kevin asked for a used wheel as a Christmas present and over time he has developed his own ceramic style.   Although he generally enjoys creating forms that are perfectly centered and then messing them up in some artistic way, Kevin has recently become interested in chattering, a texture technique.

Kevin is particularly inspired by artists George Orr, an eccentric ceramist from the early 1900s who is known for pushing what one can do with form and shapes, and Paul Soldner, who manipulated pots into asymmetrical forms.   Like his idols, Kevin hopes to turn his love of throwing into a career.

When it comes to advice for fellow aspiring artists Kevin is pretty direct.  “Never get frustrated by work failing.  Think about why and don’t do it the next time,” Kevin said.  “You make failed pots all the time, but eventually you don’t get frustrated by them.  It’s just a part of throwing.”  Kevin also credits Tam’s ceramics program for helping him along his artistic path.  “The good facility at Tam is what got me where I am and students should take advantage [of it],” Kevin said.

Written by Kristina Willis. This article originally appeared in the February 2011 issue.

Here are the videos referenced in the issue, where Templeton teaches you how to make a ceramic pot.

Camera Work: Kristina Willis
Editing + Graphics: Wesley Emblidge
Thanks to: Kevin Templeton + the Tam Art Department