AQ Ceramicist wins Michigan Art Competition

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The Michigan Mud Conference hosts a juried undergraduate ceramics show biannually. AQ student Jamey Limbers won “Best in show” at this statewide ceramics competition on October 19th. Attendees and judges saw his use of a hand-cut stencil and graffiti style as an unusual contribution to the show. Competing with students from Michigan State, University of Michigan, College for Creative Studies, and Oakland Community College among others, Limbers swayed the jury with his use of non-traditional subject matter and form. 

His work of art, THERE IS ONE PICTURE ON MY WALL (2019), is an example of high fire stoneware. Inspired by architectural details, Limbers uses pottery as a canvas for expression. Thus, the large-scale ceramic vase measures 14” X 29”. On one side, it represents the face of his great-grandmother, Bertha Bitterle, in a stencil application. The opposite side exhibits direct verse from one of Bitterle’s untitled poems. “We didn’t know she wrote poetry until after she passed away,” explains Limbers of Bitterle who passed in 1998 at the age of 99. “Her collection of poetry inspired me to create personal imagery and decoration on my pottery. I had a close relationship with my great-grandmother and this is a tribute to her memory.” 

The poem reads: 

There's one picture on my wall
That I like the best of all
'tis Jesus siting by the sea
On the shore of Galilee

That noble form that's so divine
Filled with a fire so sublime
Is quiet now, his hands at ease
Resting quietly on his knees

The night is dark, but his face is bright
Lit by a holy shinning light
A light that shines out from within
A soul that's free from any sin

I feel a peace steal over me
Compassion and love, on his face I see
Fear and trouble fade away
And i'm ready to start another day

When at night I lie in bed
Filled with anxiety, or dread
I lay and look at that quiet form
Peace fills me and I sleep 'till morn

It gives me strength by day and night
I know that everything's all right
A reminder of his love and care
In that great love I have a share

Limbers notes that “personal affection for family now drives my creative process.” It is perhaps fitting that Bitterle was a devote Catholic and her memory is now entwined with Aquinas College in this beautiful work of art.