Oklahoma Contemporary
Studio School instructor Liv Egan
A black-and-white photo depicts a smiling figure working on a pottery wheel

New Light

Sept. 02, 2020

#ThursdayThree with Liv Egan

The Studio School Online instructor on the joy of ceramics and her upcoming class at Oklahoma Contemporary
A photograph of a tall, red ceramic teapot
Red Teapot by Liv Egan

The idea of learning a new skill can seem daunting. That's why our new Studio School Online pilot program offers approachable classes for beginners with an emphasis on individual instruction in a supportive and fun environment. Students can expect 20 contact hours with experienced Studio School instructors, including small-group feedback and coaching opportunities designed to help grow your creativity without the pressure of perfection.

"Everyone is so welcoming and nice and encouraging," said Studio School Online instructor Liv Egan. In addition to a ceramic steinmaking workshop, the local artist will be teaching a 10-week course on hand building for beginners. "It's really easy to get this sort of pretentiousness from art institutions. Oklahoma Contemporary doesn't have any of that. There's something for everybody, and I think it's really important to help keep art in people's lives."

For today's #ThursdayThree installment, we talked to Egan about her path to ceramics, overcoming the hurdle of intimidation and the beginners' hand building class she'll be teaching virtually this fall at Oklahoma Contemporary.

A group of in-progress ceramic mugs
Work-in-Process Mugs by Liv Egan

Can you tell readers about your journey to ceramics?

I started with clay in college. I never took any classes before then. I was an art kid in high school, but I was a choir kid — not a 2-D and 3-D kid. I didn't have that when I got to college, and I was going crazy without any sort of creative outlet, so I decided to take a ceramics class. That was what got me into it. I never realized how much I liked sculpting 3-D things and actually being able to touch my artwork. My work is really all about touch. That's definitely what drives it. I love watching people touch my work and giving them lots of textures to experience. It's playful. It keeps me sane.

There's something for everybody at Oklahoma Contemporary, and I think that's really important to help keep art in people's lives.

— Liv Egan, Studio School Online instructor
A black-and-white photo depicts a figure wearing headphones and working on a pottery wheel
Liv Egan will teach Beginning Handbuilding as part of Studio School Online at Oklahoma Contemporary.

For people who've never worked in the medium before, the process can seem intimidating. Was that the case for you initially?

Yeah, for sure! Especially with the wheel practice. (I wish we could teach that in the fall, but you know there's not really a way to get wheels at home right now.) The wheel is super intimidating, because not only is it kind of a strange medium if you've never played with clay before, but it's moving. It's coming at you. It can be very intimidating. It's kind of scary at first. But it's so much fun — like, very, very, very fun — once you kind of get over how crazy it feels.

Can you talk about the 10-week class you'll be teaching for Studio School Online?

I'm teaching Beginning Hand Building — which is awesome, because hand building is really fun. We're going to be focusing on building with long coils of clay, big slabs and flat pieces of clay, and constructing with those. And that's something you can do on the wheel. Some people say that all working with clay is hand building, because the wheel is just a tool. So really, we're just going to be using different tools.

We'll start by working with a one inch-by-one inch cube for no more than like five minutes. This is one of my favorite projects. I just tell people to make whatever they want, and it gives me an opportunity to really watch people's hands work with clay and kind of see where their creativity is coming from, or maybe where it's going. It's good to see where people take inspiration when you don't give them any direction besides a time limit. From there, we'll do variety of hands-on projects to help build a foundational knowledge of clay and completed ceramic works.

Editor's note: Studio School registration is open now through Sept. 20. Explore explore classes and register here.

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