Barry McNamara  |   Published October 12, 2017

Faculty Ceramics Night

Wunderlich revives event to help celebrate Fine Arts Month
MONMOUTH, Ill. – To help celebrate Fine Arts Month at Monmouth College, new faculty member Janis Wunderlich is bringing back an old favorite.

An assistant professor of art, Wunderlich will host “Faculty Ceramics Night” from 7 to 9 p.m. Oct. 16 in Room 103 of McMichael Academic Hall.

“Our department wanted to do something to highlight Fine Arts Month,” said Wunderlich, who joined Monmouth’s faculty this fall. “In the past, a member of the art faculty who’s no longer here had regular ceramics nights. It was fun – people enjoyed it. So (art chair) Brian Baugh was happy to accommodate this. We’ll see how it goes, but if it’s successful, I’d like to do them regularly.”

Wunderlich wasn’t always a ceramics artist. While majoring in art at Brigham Young University, she took a ceramics class and fell in love.

“I took ceramics in college for the first time, and I loved it so much that I changed my career path and changed my plans,” said Wunderlich, who followed up her bachelor of fine arts degree in ceramics from BYU with a master of fine arts degree in ceramics from The Ohio State University.

Wunderlich said the medium holds several attractions for her, not the least of which are its “tactile” nature and the ability to create pieces that are useful, such as a coffee mug.

“I like working with my hands, getting messy,” she said. “Also, ceramics is a very long, involved process. I enjoy seeing a work through the stages – planning it, making it, firing it and glazing it. I found that I really worked well with these layers of process.”

Ceramics also offers an interdisciplinary element with its reliance on science.

“The firing process brings in elements of chemistry, and you can sometimes get surprising results,” said Wunderlich. “There’s always that anticipation of surprise. I’ve found that I really enjoying mixing the scientific aspect of ceramics with the artistic aspect.”

Asked to pick a favorite from among her works, Wunderlich couldn’t decide, but she said a “career highlight” was being profiled in a documentary by Academy Award-winner Pamela Tanner Boll.

Titled Who Does She Think She Is?, the 2008 documentary, which occasionally airs on PBS, tells, in part, the story of the balance necessary for Wunderlich to have a career in ceramics while also raising five children.

“The film asks questions about valuing parenthood/motherhood within the art world, and it asks questions about the balance of raising a family while being a serious artist,” said Wunderlich, who said she is “tactilely involved” in the lives of her children, the youngest of whom is now 13.

Wunderlich continues that same hands-on approach in the classroom.

“My teaching philosophy is fairly similar to why I’m in ceramics,” she said. “I like to be hands-on. I think students respond to tactile learning. They learn to understand what the clay can and cannot do. I like for the students to challenge themselves as artists and push their limits. I also like to make the art they’re creating important to them, relevant to them. So I like to keep my assignments open enough so that there can be personal meaning in the art for the students.”

Wunderlich came to Monmouth from Ashland University, a school of 5,700 students in Ashland, Ohio.

“I’m very happy to be here,” said Wunderlich. “There are things you can do with 12 ceramics students that are impossible with 60 students in a class. I enjoy focusing on just 12 students and doing things like personalizing the assignments for them.”
Back to News & Events

Did you know?

  • <aside class="factoid-item"><div class="factoid-item-text"><p> We’re no stranger to winning. Last year the Fighting Scots won Midwest Conference championships in Football, Women’s Soccer, Women’s Basketball and Men’s Track and Field. </p></div><div class="factoid-item-links"><ul><li class="lw_related_urls"><a href="" target="_blank">Fighting Scots</a></li></ul></div></aside>
  • <aside class="factoid-item"><div class="factoid-item-text"><p> Monmouth College covers the cost for all current students to get a U.S. passport. Unlock access to over 198 different countries! We’ll even help with the paperwork :)</p></div><div class="factoid-item-links"><ul><li class="lw_related_page"><a href="/academics/study-abroad/" target="_blank">Study Abroad</a></li></ul></div></aside>
  • <aside class="factoid-item"><div class="factoid-item-text"><p> Monmouth College offers unique academic minors in Global Public Health and Global Food Security for students who want to use their education to address global challenges. </p></div><div class="factoid-item-links"><ul><li class="lw_related_page"><a href="/academics/global-public-health/" target="_blank">Global Public Health</a></li><li class="lw_related_page"><a href="/academics/global-food-security/" target="_blank">Global Food Security</a></li></ul></div></aside>
  • <aside class="factoid-item"><div class="factoid-item-text"><p> We offer a certified Peace Corps Preparation program that gives Peace Corps bound graduates a leg up in the application process.</p></div><div class="factoid-item-links"><ul><li class="lw_related_page"><a href="/academics/peace-corps-prep/" target="_blank">Peace Corps Prep</a></li></ul></div></aside>
  • <aside class="factoid-item"><div class="factoid-item-text"><p> Monmouth College has an active Pipe & Drum Band. Each year on Scholar’s Day in April the bagpipers wake students up at 6:00 a.m. by playing in the residence halls!</p></div><div class="factoid-item-links"><ul><li class="lw_related_page"><a href="/academics/music/pipe-band/" target="_blank">Pipe Band</a></li></ul></div></aside>
  • <aside class="factoid-item"><div class="factoid-item-text"><p> Monmouth College has an educational garden and 6.7 acre farm. Students grow and harvest fruits and vegetables to sell at the local farmer’s market. </p></div><div class="factoid-item-links"><ul><li class="lw_related_urls"><a href="" target="_blank">Garden & Farm</a></li></ul></div></aside>
  • <aside class="factoid-item"><div class="factoid-item-text"><p> Textbooks are included in the cost of tuition at Monmouth College. No need to try to plan for an additional expense, and our students start each semester fully prepared for classes. </p></div><div class="factoid-item-links"><ul><li class="lw_related_page"><a href="/offices/student-financial-planning/tuition-fees/" target="_blank">Tuition & Fees</a></li></ul></div></aside>
  • <aside class="factoid-item"><div class="factoid-item-text"><p> 98% of Monmouth graduates were employed or enrolled in graduate school within six months of graduation.</p></div><div class="factoid-item-links"><ul><li class="lw_related_page"><a href="/wackerle-center/career-services/" target="_blank">Career Services</a></li></ul></div></aside>
  • <aside class="factoid-item"><div class="factoid-item-text"><p> Monmouth College offers several international trips each year during 2-week Scots Terms in January and May. Recently students have traveled to Botswana, Greece, Scotland, Japan, and more. </p></div><div class="factoid-item-links"><ul><li class="lw_related_urls"><a href="" target="_blank">Scots Term</a></li></ul></div></aside>
  • <aside class="factoid-item"><div class="factoid-item-text"><p> While we have the Wells Theater on campus, the Theatre department also uses the block-box auditorium Fusion Theatre downtown Monmouth.</p></div><div class="factoid-item-links"><ul><li class="lw_related_page"><a href="/academics/theatre/" target="_blank">Theatre</a></li></ul></div></aside>
  • <aside class="factoid-item"><div class="factoid-item-text"><p> Monmouth College is the birthplace of the women’s fraternity movement. Kappa Kappa Gamma and Pi Beta Phi, two of the oldest sororities, were founded at Monmouth in the 1860’s. </p></div><div class="factoid-item-links"><ul><li class="lw_related_page"><a href="/student-life/sororities-fraternities/" target="_blank">Sororities & Fraternities</a></li></ul></div></aside>
  • <aside class="factoid-item"><div class="factoid-item-text"><p> Monmouth College is proudly test optional. Applicants may choose whether or to submit SAT or ACT scores for admission and scholarship consideration. </p></div><div class="factoid-item-links"><ul><li class="lw_related_page"><a href="/admission/apply/test-optional/" target="_blank">Test Optional</a></li></ul></div></aside>
  • <aside class="factoid-item"><div class="factoid-item-text"><p> 99% of Monmouth students received some type of scholarship or financial assistance.</p></div><div class="factoid-item-links"><ul><li class="lw_related_page"><a href="/offices/student-financial-planning/types-of-aid/scholarships/" target="_blank">Scholarships</a></li></ul></div></aside>