Of course I had seen some of the ceramic work in Scripps College’s private collection a few years ago when they held a show of it at AMOCA, but a couple of weeks ago I got the opportunity to see and wander through the whole collection along with my morning handbuilding class.
The trip to see the collection takes you down into the basement of one of the college’s buildings. Kirk Delmain, the Collections Manager, gave an overview of the major donations that helped to build their collection before turning us loose with just a few rules. The best one being that work could be touched, picked up and examined as long as it wasn’t too fragile looking. My students ranked that as the best part of the trip – actually getting a full sensory experience instead of what you typically encounter in museums and galleries.
There are pieces on shelves, there are pieces in drawers, there are pieces sitting on tables … there are pieces everywhere! Many of the ceramic works are nestled in their very own specially cut foam holders or are strapped into boxes to protect them from earthquake damage.
While the work is catalogued, like many well catalogued collections as long as the location is known there is no need for any rhyme or reason to the grouping of work. So, you never quite know what you’ll find when opening the drawers.
The plate drawers are so heavy from their contents that they are kept locked in between viewings so that the drawers don’t roll open on their own!
It was such a fun experience to be able to explore!