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July 25, 1979 - Image 24

Resource type:
Michigan Daily, 1979-07-25

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Page 18-Wednesday, July 25, 1979-The Michigan Daily
The Artists:
Ceramist develops and tests

pieces in his
{ ontinued from Page 17)
Ann Arbor is a good place for an artist to live and
work, according to Remsen. "The people are
sophisticated and know what they want," he said.
"The best thing about it (Ann Arbor) is as an ar-
tist you can't rest on your laurels . .. you have to
keep working on what you do," Remsen continued.
He said the dozens of local professional potters
keep the field competitive and active. "Everyone is
feeding off of everything else," and , "regional
style" has developed, he added.
Like Remsen most of the practicing artisans in
the city got their start in the street fair here, he
His beautiful andpractical pieces are the result of
his undergraduate training in primitive
technologies and an interest in clay work, he said.
Both subjects, he explained, reflect "a preoc-
cupation with having an understanding of im-
mediate forces. . . putting things together. . . and
seeing what makes things tick."
While most of his high-fired ceramics are thrown
on a traditional potters' wheel Remsen also molds
some pieces using a "slab" method. Only "pre-
industrial techniques" are used in his production
pottery, he said.
According to the nine year veteran exhibitor, the

own kitchen
Ann Arbor art fair is generally lucrative for the ar-
tists who produce a "marketable item." He said he
earns about 20 per cent of his yearly income at the
city fair.
Remsen's booth on East University, in front of
Randall Laboratories, is filled with many forms of
his work. He said the typical reaction of fair-goers
to his collection at the Summer Art Festival is, "Oh,
what a lot of different things."
"I try to master a whole variety of decorative
techniques to keep myself from getting too bored,"
he said. One of the large bowls was marbled on the
inside with swirls of deep red and white.
The ideas for his showpieces come from his
produciton work, Remsen said. When a new
variation or experiment, or- even an accident
"comes off particularly well" it can be incorporated
into a special work. He said his production oriented
studio serves as a laboratory where his ideas evolve
and mutate into his ceramic pieces.
A squirrel wandered down the sunstreaked steps
to the artist's basement studio. The two had ob-
viously met before. "I'm afraid he'll come down
here and eat my clay," Remsen said.
"Why don't you come upstairs, Buddy," he asked.
The animal fell for the bribe and followed him up-
stairs for a peanut.

Daily Photo by

Stitchery expert uses ancient craft to aid homeland

Someday, Robia Shafie wants to go
"back home" to Palestine.
Until that day, the stitchery expert
plans to use the profits from her first
exhibition of intricate embroidery to
help the people of her homeland in the
Middle East where she learned the
beautiful craft.
Because of her husband's prompting,
Shafie said she decided to exhibit the 90
assorted pieces of her work ac-
cumulated in the 15 years she has been
practicing the tedious silk thread craft.
"I thought I should get it out for this
good cause," she explained.
At the Summer Arts Festival, spon-
sored by the University Artists and
Craftsmen Guild, Shafie will share a
booth with her Palestinian friend Suad
Amiri. The profits earned on their work

will be donated to the Palestine Aid
Society, Shafie said.
The dark-haired artist looked over
the suitcase packed full of her work.
"This is my first year entering it (the
art fair)," she said softly. "I hope it will
work out all right."
Shafie came to Ann Arbor in 1966
when her husband enrolled in the
University to work on his Ph.D. The
next year, during the Six Days War,
Israel gained control of the land Shafie
calls home. Because the Shafies left
Palestine before the 1967 conflict, the
government of Israel will not allow
them to return to live with their family,
Shafie explained.
"The people here are very nice," she
said in her suburban Ann Arbor living
room, "but there's nothing like home."
Palestine still exists in the hearts and
minds of her people who lived in the

area near the West Bank of the Jordan
River, she said.
The brightly colored needlework she
creates is a beautiful and practical
craft that has been passed on "for years
and generations" in her homeland,
Shafie said.
She continued, "Back home you learn
it," in a stichery course taught in the
public schools.
"These are the dresses worn in the
villages," she said with a glance at a
brown caftan-like dress with richly con-
trasting gold and red embroidery
around the hems and neckline.
Shafie fingered the burlap fabric of
one of the purses she planned to exhibit.
"After we use the rice we take the bag
and embroider on it. You have to
economize and use the things around
In addition to her training in
Palestine, Shafie has attended some art
courses and workshops at the Univer-
sity and Eastern Michigan University.
Currently she is studying elementary
education at EMU and hopes to earn
her degree in about a year.
Her closely stitched designs take a
long time to complete. But some ar-
ticles go relatively quickly, a book bag
takes "only" about 45 hours to com-
plete, she said.
"These are my favroties," she said
picking up two intricately stitched

pillow covers. With an appraising glan-
ce at the tedious workmanship, Shafie
admitted, "They take forever."
Preparing for the art fair has been
very time consuming, Shafie said, and
pricing the various pieces has been
especially difficult. "What is your time
worth?" she asked, looking over the
work that had taken her years to do.

a tribute to women in film
This Fall, Cinema 2 will
present an exploration of
the roles and influences of
Women in film, both behind
the camera and on the



Cinema it is a non-profit organiza-
tion providing Ann Arbor with the
best in alternative cinema. For
program information, call the
University of Michigan operator-

check our FALL

A "0 ooks £ Periodicals
Chinese Papercuts *Cards
Visit our booth on State near William for the
finest books and periodicals on crafts, alter-
native energy and architecture and moreI
3361 S. State Street

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