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STLCC Staff, Students Create Ceramic Cups for Saint Louis Art Fair

August 29, 2014

Jim Ibur  
Jim Ibur with a few of the 1,000 ceramic
cups  to be given away at the Saint Louis
Art Fair Sept. 5-7 in Clayton.

Visitors to the Saint Louis Art Fair once again have the opportunity to take home a one-of-a-kind piece of art for an unbeatable price.

For the second straight year, St. Louis Community College will be at the Art Fair Sept. 5-7 in downtown Clayton, handing out free ceramic cups.

STLCC's involvement was the idea of DeLancey Smith, retired director of public information and marketing, who approached STLCC-Meramec ceramics professor Jim Ibur about having a presence at the fair. The event annually attracts more than 100,000 attendees over three days.

“I thought having a booth at the fair last year would be a good idea,” said Ibur. “I said it would be awesome and I would help organize it.”

Distributing the ceramic works promotes the fine arts programs at the college and the role STLCC has in the community.

“People love stuff, especially free stuff that's beautiful and usable. 'STLCC' is stamped on all cups. It's a great marketing tool,” said Ibur.

Creating a small cup is seemingly easy, but Ibur explained that it is more complicated than it seems. From the first throw of clay on the pottery wheel to the final product can take three days or more.

“Throwing them takes between two to five minutes, typically. Then they have to dry, get stamped, cleaned up and bisque fired (pre-fired),” Ibur said. "After that, we glazed in a few ways but mostly our soda fired kiln. Glazing each piece takes some time because there are many layers of the process. Each cup is then 'wadded' (small clay balls are glued to the bottom of each cup so they will not stick during the atmospheric glaze firing). The firing takes about 24 hours and then cools for 48 hours. Then each piece must be cleaned if there is any residue from the firing.”

Ibur said students, educational assistants and faculty made the cups this year. The Meramec and Forest Park campuses together created more than  1,000 cups.

Full- and part-time STLCC Art department faculty will be on hand to distribute the cups and answer questions about the college. For more information about the Saint Louis Art Fair, visit www.culturalfestivals.com or call 314-863-0278.

Cups for the Saint Louis Art Fair  
STLCC staff and students began working on the ceramic cups for the Saint Louis Art Fair in July.