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Resident potter for Guilford Art Center (GAC) Dana Lofink is shown here throwing one of many bowls she’s crafted to help a great cause, Soup for Good. Proceeds from the hearty soup supper, which takes place Sunday, Nov. 11, from 4:30 to 6:30 p.m. at GAC, will support non-profit, Branford-based Community Dining Room as well as non-profit GAC. (Photo courtesy of the Guilford Art Center )
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As the new resident potter for Guilford Art Center (GAC), Dana Lofink is going hands-on to help a great cause, GAC’s sixth annual Soup for Good. She’s had a hand in making many of the unique pottery bowls that will be given away as part of the event.
Proceeds from the hearty soup supper, which takes place Sunday, Nov. 11, from 4:30 to 6:30 p.m. at GAC, will support non-profit, Branford-based Community Dining Room (CDR) as well as the non-profit GAC.
Dana arrived at GAC in September and said she’s very impressed with the premise of Soup for Good. Guests get to choose the hand-crafted pottery soup bowl of their choice, made at GAC by volunteer potters—and not only to hold their soup, but to take home, “for good.”
Supporters will also select from a variety of soups, homemade breads, desserts and a glass of wine or sparkling water to enjoy. After dinner, they can take in all of the extraordinary American fine crafts on view in GAC’s annual holiday shopping experience: Artistry: American Craft for the Holidays. Artistry is open from Nov. 1 through Jan. 6, seven days a week.
Dana graduated in May from Hartford Art School (HAS), University of Hartford, with a BFA in ceramics and a minor in art history.
As a student at HAS, she helped with fundraisers that featured pottery crafted for a cause, “but this is the first time I’ve been involved in something that’s raising money for a bigger cause,” she says of Soup for Good. “I think it’s a really good way to raise money and also to use the skills that they’re all about teaching here. It’s a good application of the craft.”
The Brookfield native recently moved to New Haven and is just starting to get familiar with the outreach and offerings of GAC. The non-profit inspires and promotes community participation in the visual arts through education, exhibitions, and outreach and serves towns across the shoreline. Much in the same way, non-profit CDR works to assist residents not only in its hometown of Branford, but those from East Haven to Old Saybrook, by providing a variety of nutritious meals options and assistance with basic human needs. Dana is impressed with the way both GAC and CDR work to embrace their roles of supporting the shoreline.
“I think the center is really great,” she says. “I’m glad the center is really engaged with its community.”
Dana first learned of GAC’s unique resident potter program through her professors at HAS. Although she’d never visited GAC before, she did hear great things from GAC’s 2017-’18 resident potter, Victoria “Tori” Burnham, also a HAS grad.
Now in its fourth year, GAC’s resident potter position is designed to provide the resident with “time and space to develop their own art, while contributing to the workings of a communal pottery studio,” according to information supplied by GAC.
Like the residents who came before her, Dana’s work will be also featured in an exhibition at the center’s gallery at the completion of her residency in August 2019.
“I’m still imagining what I want to put together,” says Dana of her GAC exhibit. “The ideas I’ve been thinking about are quite different from the work I was making, but maybe still kind of in the same realm. The work I’d like to show would be sculpturally based rather than functionally based.”
Her culminating student exhibit at HAS featured teeny, tiny pieces—palm-sized and smaller—that drew viewers in to scrutinize each work closely.
“One of the things I really enjoy about the work I have been making is how people interact with it,” Dana explains. “I was working on a very small scale, so watching people encounter it in the space was exciting. Because its so small, it’s hard for people to relate to it; it’s so out of realm of anything they would typically encounter. But the work that I’m thinking of making now is very domestic, home-theme based, but still dealing with the idea of how people interact with objects, and how people view objects around them and the environment that they’re in.”
Right now, she’s “toying with functional versus sculptural” juxtaposed in her work, she adds.
“It’s really interesting. Some of the work that I’ve started making is maybe referential to [functional objects], like I made some cups that I have an idea to use as part of a sculpture. I’m not so much making the cups to be used, but as more like the art of the piece, itself,” she says.
As part of her residency, Dana has full access to GAC’s ceramics studio, which is equipped with 12 wheels, a hand building table, three electric kilns, and a slab roller, extruder, outdoor downdraft gas kiln, raku kiln, and a glaze mixing room.
GAC offers four different clay bodies and a large glaze selection. In early October, Dana was in the studio with volunteers for a Bowl-a-Thon where bowls were thrown and glazed to help build a great variety of inventory to display and give away at Soup for Good on Nov. 11.
While Dana doesn’t lead classes (GAC’s ceramics studio offers classes for adults and children, home school programs, weekend workshops, and summer classes for children) she also gets to interact with many students and potters regularly, during open studio sessions.
“I oversee the studio practice sessions, which is when the adults who are taking classes can come in three-hour chunks of time and work freely, and I’m here to answer questions or assist if needed,” says Dana, adding she’s enjoying the collaborative atmosphere. “It’s really interesting seeing what everybody’s doing, seeing what people are making and how they’re building, and what their ideas are.”
The sixth annual Soup for Good to benefit the Community Dining Room (CDR) and Guilford Art Center (GAC) is Sunday, Nov. 11, from 4:30 to 6:30 p.m. at Guilford Art Center, 411 Church Street, Guilford. Tickets are $30 in advance, $35 at the door. A portion of proceeds benefit CDR and GAC. Reservations can be made at www.guilfordartcenter.org or by calling GAC at 203-453-5947.
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