Shared Journeys II: Presenters

Val Cushing
Val Cushing was born in Rochester, New York on January 28th, 1931. He received his BFA and MFA from the School of Art & Design in the New York State College of Ceramics at Alfred University. His full-time teaching career began that year at the University of Illinois in Champaign-Urbana. He retired from Alfred in 1997, after forty-one years of teaching and was designated “Professor Emeritus”.  

He has given over 250 lectures, workshops and demonstrations that have taken him all over the United States, to Canada, Ireland, England and Japan. His pottery has received many awards and honors, has been seen in well over 200 exhibitions, and in numerous one-person shows.  He is represented in the collections of many public and private museums and galleries in the USA - including the Smithsonian, the Brooklyn Museum of Art, Cooper-Hewitt, and the Everson.  He is also represented in Canada, England, Taiwan, Japan and Hawaii. 

He has received honors from Alfred University, from New York State and from NCECA for his role as a teacher.  He is a Fellow of the American Craft Council and of NCECA (The National Council on Education in the Ceramic Arts) where he was a founding member and a past president. He has received an artist’s grant from the National Endowment of the Arts; a Fulbright grant for teaching and research in Manchester, England, an artist-in-residence grant at the Archie Bray Foundation and at the University of Wolverhampton, England. 

Bill Strickland (Speaker)

Bill Strickland is the President and CEO of Manchester Bidwell Corporation and its subsidiaries, Manchester Craftsmen's Guild (MCG), and Bidwell Training Center (BTC).  Strickland is nationally recognized as a visionary leader who authentically delivers educational and cultural opportunities to students and adults within an organizational culture that fosters innovation, creativity, responsibility and integrity. Throughout Strickland's distinguished career, he has been honored with numerous prestigious awards for his contributions to the arts and the community, including the coveted MacArthur “Genius” award. The past several decades have been dedicated to maintaining successful relationships with prominent national foundations and political leaders who share his passion and vision for a healthier future.

Elizabeth Lacouture (Speaker)
Dr. Lacouture, specializes in East Asian History.  Her recent activities include, Organizer, “Home and the Politics of Place in China and India (1800-1940),” Berkshire Conference on the History of Women (2011), “Tianjin de xiandai jiating” (Tianjin’s modern homes), Department of History, Tianjin Academy of Social Sciences (Tianjin, China, 2010)*, “Space, Place, and Page in Republican-era Women’s Magazines”: University of Heidelberg Conference on Women’s Magazines, New Women and the Reconfiguration of Genres: China in international Perspective (1898-1949) (2007), and “China and America,” Early American History in Global Perspective: An International Conference, sponsored by the United States-China J. William Fulbright Program in conjunction with the Public Affairs Section of the Embassy of the United States of America in Beijing and Nankai University, Tianjin, China (2007)*

Her awards and fellowships include, Mellon/ACLS Dissertation Completion Fellowship
(2008-2009), Julie How Dissertation Fellowship, Weatherhead East Asian Institute (2007
-2008), Mellon Interdisciplinary Graduate Fellow, Institute for Social and Economic
Research and Policy, Columbia University (2007-2009), and Fulbright-Hays, Doctoral
Dissertation Research Abroad Fellowship (2006-2007).

Dryden Wells (Speaker)

Dryden Wells, originally from St. Louis, Missouri, first completed a BFA in Ceramics and a BSED (K-12) at Missouri State University in Springfield, MO. In the Fall of 2005, Wells moved to Lubbock, Texas, to pursue an MFA degree in Ceramics at Texas Tech University, which he completed Spring of 2008. Wells, having previously been a resident artist at the Pottery Workshop: An Experimental Sculpture Factory in Jingdezhen, China, during the summers of 2006 and 2007, was employed as the Design Studio Manager of The Pottery Workshop. He is currently a Visiting Assistant Professor at Missouri State University. Over the past few years, Wells has continued to exhibit his work both nationally and internationally. Recent select exhibitions include: Feats of Clay XX (2007); Combined Talents: Florida International Exhibition (2007); Ceramic Sculpture National Juried Exhibition (2007); Clay on the Wall: 2007 Clay National; and 2010 China-China: Shanghai World Modern Ceramics Art Show, Series 1, Porcelain in Contemporary Discourse (2008). Along with having images of work selected for publications such as, 500 Tiles; 500 Platters, Plates & Chargers (Lark Books, 2008) and the February 2008 issue of Ceramics Monthly, Wells has had work purchased into public and private art collections including, six pieces by the Shanghai Museum of Arts & Crafts and one piece by the Las Cruces Museum of Art, New Mexico.

Joe Molinaro

JoeJoe Molinaro, from Lexington, KY, is a native of Indiana where he received his BS degree in Art from Ball State University in 1975 and his MFA degree in Art from Southern Illinois University at Carbondale in 1978. He taught for eight years at Broward Community College located in Ft. Lauderdale, FL from 1981-89, and is currently on faculty at Eastern Kentucky University where he has worked since 1989. He is the founder of Clayart, a popular electronic ceramic Listserv, as well as co-originator/founder of the Virtual Ceramics Exhibition (1994), which was the first ever ceramics exhibit held entirely on the Internet. He is also the author of the book A Pottery Tour of Kentucky (Crystal Communications/2000) and regularly contributes writings on aspects of the ceramic arts for various national and international ceramic publications. He served as Program Director for the National Council on Education for the Ceramic Arts (NCECA/2005-09) and also maintains his own studio that allows him to continue producing sculptural vessels in porcelain as well as other wood-fired functional and sculptural work. Molinaro is the recipient of two Kentucky Al Smith Fellowships in 1996 and 2002 as well as the Rudy Osolnik Award for Outstanding Craftsman in Kentucky in 2000.

In addition, Joe Molinaro has been conducting research in South America for the past 16 years where he is currently working on a book on the potters of the Upper Amazon basin region of Ecuador with colleagues Richard Burkett and Nan Coffin. A recipient of two Fulbright Awards in Ecuador, he has written extensively on this research and is the producer of two ceramic video documentaries (Jatun Molino, an Amazonian Pottery Village/1996, and Jatumpamba, an Andean Pottery Village/2003).


Chinese Artists:

Gong Baojia (Demonstrator)

Gong Baojia is one of the leading overglaze ceramic painters of his generation.  He is considered one of the world's foremost experts in the fencai techniques that began during the Qing Dynasty.  Gong's works was published in many magazines and newspapers in China.  His works are collected by many museums and organizations, such as China National Historical Museum, China National Museum, and etc.  He is a professor of art at Jingdezhen Ceramic Institute.


Li Chao (Coordinator)

As one of the leading post 1970s' ceramic artist, Li Chao's clay works have been part of many major clay exhibitions in China. His works are part of many museums and private art collections both in China and aboard, such as Zhejiang Provincial Art Museum, China National Museum of Art and Dickinson College Art Collections. He is a professor of art at Jingdezhen Ceramic Institute.



Dai Guangyu (Demonstrator)


Master trimmer with 16 years of trimming experience, Dai represents the legions of young artisans in Jingdezhen who are still part of the vital apprenticeship education.  Dai has been recognized as one of top emerging trimmer in Jingdezhen and has trimmed and continues to trim for some of the leading ceramics artists in China.




Zhan Shaolin (Demonstrator)

     Master thrower with 16 years of throwing experience, Zhan has been a recipient of multitude of awards for his throwing skills.  Zhan is also the principle thrower for the Southern Dynasty Royal Kiln Museum in Hangzhou, China and is a research member of the Najing Forbidden City Museum.


Lv Pinch Chang (Demonstrator)


Internationally represented sculptor and Dean of Sculpture at Central Academy of Arts, Beijing, Pinchang has been awarded a special government subsidy by the State Council. He is recognized as one of the leading sculptors in China today. Lv Pinchang is a member of the Ceramic Art Commission, China Artists Association, Deputy Secretary-general of China Sculpture Society, Deputy Secretary-general of the art commission, the National Urban Sculpture Guiding Committee. Pinchang has exhibited and demonstrated internationally.


Yan Bing (Demonstrator)

  Yan Bing is one of the foremost experts in underglaze ceramic   painting in the field.  She has received numerous awards in China and Internationally for her work.  Yan Bing's works have been published in many magazines and newspapers in China.  Numerous museums, private collectors, and organizations collect her works. She is a professor of art at Jingdezhen Ceramic Institute.





Special thanks to Standard Ceramics Supply for their generous donation of clay to be used by the artists.

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