April 21, 2016 | By Emry Hayes for The Daily Mississippian
The University of Mississippi Department of Art and Art History‘s Mud Daubers will be among 160 other art vendors showcased at this year’s Double Decker Arts Festival.
The Mud Daubers are a group of advanced ceramics students led by Matt Long, associate professor of art. In addition to Double Decker, the group prepares pieces for their annual fall and spring pottery sales as well as philanthropic events like the Empty Bowls Project.
The Mud Daubers have been hard at work preparing a multitude of pieces for this year’s arts festival. Madeline Phillips, a senior ceramics student, said they had been preparing for Double Decker since the fall.
“There’s a lot that goes into it,” Phillips said. “The process can take weeks from making the piece to the final glazed product.”
Out of the hundreds of pieces created for purchase, shoppers can find pottery ranging from functional items like bowls and mugs to more sculptural or decorative pieces.
“Not only do we have utilitarian pots, but we have a wide variety of ceramic work that spans across the board,” Phillips said.
Although there is an assortment of handcrafted goods, ceramics students can agree that mugs and sets tend to be the most popular.
“People love sets,” Emma Wilson, a fifth-year art major, said. “Anything that looks like it goes together either in the same style or color are always a big hit.”
Aside from making pieces to sell at Double Decker, the Mud Daubers also make the trophies for the annual Double Decker Spring Run. These trophies go to the first, second and third place man and woman for both the 5K and 10K race.
Typically the trophies are made by only a handful of ceramics students, but this year the advanced class decided to add a little competition to the mix. Each student was required to make two trophies, in whatever style he chose, to be judged by fellow students as well as their professor.
“You could make it however you wanted,” Wilson said. “We even had one person make a belt buckle.”
Wilson, whose trophy won, said that this gave her the opportunity to create something she would have never thought to do.
“It was so much fun,” Wilson said. “It was such a break from having to think so conceptually.”
With the pieces glazed and ready to go, many students are looking forward to having the chance to meet people who are interested in their work.
“I am most excited about getting to talk to the customers and see what they like and ultimately what they decide to buy,” Phillips said.
The Double Decker Arts Festival gives shoppers the chance to support local artists and buy a one-of-a-kind piece of art.
“These pieces are all handmade by young up-and-coming artists,” Long said.
A portion of the proceeds from the sale goes to the artist, while the other half goes back to the organization to help them expose students to new ideas by hosting nationally-recognized ceramic artists.
“By buying local pottery rather than industrial, commercial pottery, you are supporting student organizations,” Phillips said. “The money goes directly to the students and scholarships, plus you are getting a hand-crafted high quality piece of art.”
Long said he encourages people to come out and see the pieces the Mud Daubers have made.
“Our students make beautiful, unique pieces that are incredibly artful,” Long said. “We have a very talented group of students making objects that are not just about meeting a standard but addressing what they love.”
The Mud Daubers will be in booth 97-98 located near the First National Bank across from the Lafayette County Courthouse.