Kaitlyn Rule ’19  |   Published November 30, 2015

‘Outstanding’ addition

Art department Newcomer enjoys helping Monmouth students create
  • Assistant professor of art Tybre Newcomer assists art major Jorie Mach with a project earlier this semester.
Ever since it dawned on Tybre Newcomer that he enjoyed passing his knowledge on to others, he has pursued his parents’ career path in education. That pursuit has led him to Monmouth College, where students and faculty colleagues are impressed with the art department newcomer.
  “Tybre’s broad range of ceramic knowledge and expertise are what hooked us initially,” said art professor Stacy Lotz. “His work extends far beyond what most would consider traditional clay forms. He’s much more than a functional potter. His functional work is outstanding, but it’s the sculptural work that really blew us away. Once we got him on campus, it became clear that his skills went above and beyond what we even imagined. We searched for the best and got it.”   “Growing up, I had a unique perspective, because both my parents were teachers,” he said. “I saw the pride and joy they took from that. I realized I thrived in the environment I was around and in a social context where I would teach somebody something. Going into college, I knew teaching was something I wanted to pursue as a career.”   Newcomer completed his undergraduate work at Missouri State University, where he studied ceramics. He earned a master’s degree in ceramics and ceramic sculpture, with a minor in furniture design, from the School for American Crafts at Rochester Institute of Technology.   “Although there are many in ceramics that I admire and even have as mentors, such as Rick Hirsch, my sources of inspiration come from the craft fields as a whole, not from individuals,” said Newcomer. “My personal work is about how craftsmen interact between the tools and materials they choose to work. In this way, I am inspired by how this interaction is seen in the final piece of work they produce. Each mark tells a story of the connection between the maker, the tool and the material.”   Newcomer, who’s teaching “Hand Building Ceramics” and “Darkroom Photography” this semester, as well a section of “Introduction to Liberal Arts,” is passionate about wanting his students to learn as much as they can in his classroom.   “My favorite thing about teaching is that moment when you’re in the classroom and you’re engaged with the students – that moment where something clicks,” he said.   Some of his students experience those “clicks” while shooting photographs, and Newcomer explained why it’s important for them to learn the darkroom method in a digital age.   “It requires you to slow everything down,” he said. “There is no instant playback, no confirmation if you took the image you wanted. Unlike digital, where you now can have thousands of images in your camera, with a film camera you only have 24 frames per roll of film. This forces the person taking the images to put more thought into composition in each shot, producing better techniques which one can then use with digital technology. In other words, it forces you to make the effort to get the photo right in the camera rather than relying on technology to make a better image.”   “Tybre brings to our strong art department a pairing of incredible creativity and ability as an artist himself with a deep devotion to our students and their learning and artistic practice,” said Dean David Timmerman. “He fits right in with our strong department and adds further to its strength.”   Outside of his teaching, Newcomer also enjoys creating artwork in the studio and experiencing the outdoors, primarily hiking and exploring new places. Other hobbies include working on historic cars and fixing up hot rods and fostering dogs at his family’s home. At his most recent stop in Springfield, Mo., he and his family fostered pugs from the Pug Rescue Foundation. He can regularly be seen walking his dogs around campus and the surrounding neighborhood.   Newcomer is also in demand as an artist, as he and his wife were commissioned by the city of Mount Pleasant, Mich., to create a sculpture for its sister city in Okaya, Japan, to mark 50 years of the pairing.   “We came up with a design that related to the 40th anniversary,” said Newcomer, who reported that, 10 years, the city of Okaya donated 40 trees that were planted in one of the parks in Mount Pleasant. “We came up with a design that was a cross section of two trees growing together. There are a total of 50 rings in the sculpture symbolizing the 50 years of friendship.”   Looking ahead, Newcomer is planning an Open Studio Night that should happen within the next few months. Open to everyone on campus, including students and faculty, the event will be part of Newcomer’s efforts to make the ceramic and art studio more widely known throughout the college community.
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