On display through March 30, 2012
Orvil Reeser grew up in western Iowa and received his BSEE from Iowa State in 1975. He has been married to his Fairfield bride, Martha Bell for 36 years. Orvil went to work for Motorola designing radios and parts for radios right out of college. He was a manager on the first “brick phone” for a UK demonstration cellular system in London. He worked on an EMS ambulance radio system that Motorola continued to sell for about 15 years. Orvil has 14 US patents.
“About twenty years ago I decided to take a continuing education class at the local community college in ceramics. After taking the class a few times I enrolled in the credit class and I have been a Harper College art student ever since. The ceramics program has a mix of traditional students studying for an associate’s degree and twenty or so repeat offenders like me. The program compares well with a university setting because the repeat students are like a cadre of grad students. We critique and advise the new students as well as each other. The Harper College 3D art studio is as good as any facility I’ve seen. I have had several teachers and mentors over the years starting with Lee Marshal who also began her career as an engineer. Phil Soosloff was my first credit course teacher and Sam Rosby, Associate Professor of Art at Harper College is my current clay sensei and friend of 20 years. I am a member of the National Council for Education in the Ceramic Arts and attend their annual conference regularly.”
Most of Orvil’s work is wheel thrown functional pottery. He likes bottle forms because of the difficulty in making them and because you can achieve a pleasing simple shape with little adornment. He uses both stoneware and porcelain clay bodies and cone 9 reduction glazes. He produces Raku pottery using copper matte glaze and horse hair and feathers.
“A couple of years ago I participated in a group wood fired salt glaze outing near Galena, Illinois. It was a crazy weekend where we took turns stoking the kiln for two days while camping in a farmer’s field. I created a piece about 30” tall. It was hand built from two slabs of stoneware clay suspended in canvas sling molds and joined together when leather hard. It was glazed with a shiny black metallic glaze fired at cone 9, reduction.
The entire piece was covered with masking tape and the pattern cut out freehand with an X-acto knife. The image was formed by sandblasting the surface to a matte finish. Chicago artist Roger Brown inspired this piece.