Peter Pincus demonstrates how ceramics can relate to life

Peter Pincus, an educator and ceramic artist from New York, held a demonstration Oct. 11-12 in the Southern Utah University ceramics studio. 

During his presentation, Pincus showed students how to create plaster molds and shape them in a way that creates more natural seams in their artwork. He demonstrated throwing clay and spinning it on a wheel while explaining the ceramic process. 

With both a bachelor’s and master’s in fine arts, Pincus has made a living through his artwork. As an artist with work in multiple exhibitions and museums, he has the opportunity to share that others do not have. Using an open layout, Pincus helped students and community members see how they can use their creativity to create functional pieces. 

“I work in a field of potters — that’s what I do. I happen to love making art,” said Pincus. “Pottery is about the concept of service. It’s about keeping something else alive.”

As Pincus worked, he invited students to feel the artwork and help him out. He kept the demonstration casual, encouraging viewers to ask questions as he worked. While modeling the process of creating a planter, Pincus explained why creating the planter was so important. 

“If you put a plant in a planter that is way too big for it, you have an issue. If you put it in the wrong place, it’s an issue,” said Pincus. “When you do that, you run the risk of killing the plant.” 

As Pincus continued through the process of creating a planter, he talked about why the design is such an important part of ceramics, since it can make or break a piece. He switched between creating molds and pottery, explaining the way that each is made: by putting the multiple pieces together to make one model or shell. From there, he demonstrated the work that he would normally put in to make a mold by sanding and changing the surface where the mold pieces come together. 

Pincus put a lot of focus on doing what would make others uncomfortable in the ceramic process: not filling the seams in his plaster mold. He then shared with the students how these processes do not have to lead to disasters if they encounter them. 

For many art students, the prospect of learning from current and past art teachers is one of the things that keeps them going and shows how the content they are learning is applied in everyday life. In the case of T-Birds, Pincus encouraged students to try something new with their art and work through challenges

Although ceramics may not be the equivalent to stress in life, Pincus encouraged T-Birds to try those things that may be unusual and see what piece of art they can create. For students who are interested, more information about Pincus and his work can be found at

Author: Anna Mower
Photos courtesy of Elizabeth Lamark
Editor: Tessa Cheshire