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Artist seeks to create peacefulness through pottery

February 1st, 2023

Ceramic piece by Stacey Stanhope Dundon

Stacey Stanhope Dundon's exhibit of ceramics, "Farm to Table," is now in the Regier Gallery in Luyken Fine Arts Center through Feb. 24, with the artist on campus Feb. 23-24.

The pieces currently on display bring together Dundon’s love of pottery, drawing, painting and farm life.

Dundon will be on campus Feb. 23-24 as the Greer Visiting Artist, meeting with the Ceramics class both days, and giving an evening presentation Feb. 23, followed by the artist reception.

The lecture is at 7 p.m. in the Administration Building chapel. The reception will run until 9 p.m. at the gallery in Luyken Fine Arts Center.

Gallery hours are Mon.-Fri., 9 a.m.-5 p.m., and Sunday, 2-4 p.m.

Dundon says she was first introduced to a pottery wheel at age 5, “and have been at it ever since.”

She explains her work this way: “My decoration process involves wax resist. First, I make a drawing on the clay, then I paint with watered-down wax.

“The wax repels – a black slip of liquid clay that is then brushed on the whole surface – revealing an image. The piece is glazed on the inside and fired to approximately 2,200° F. in a salt kiln.

“Salt firing is a vapor-glazing process where salt – sodium chloride – is introduced into the kiln fire box at high temperatures. The salt reacts with the silica in the clay to form a glaze.”

Dundon graduated from Wichita State University in 1995 with an M.F.A. in ceramics, and has been a studio potter ever since. She built her first salt kiln in 1997 in Alpharetta, Ga.

She moved to Orwell, Vt., in 2010, where she currently lives on Lake Champlain with husband Chris, a standard poodle and three cats.

“If I’m not throwing pots on the wheel,” Dundon says, “I teach pottery classes, run a co-op of 30 artists, ski and renovate old farm houses. It’s a simple life.” 

In her artist statement, Dundon says, “I hope you find my work relaxing. It may take you back to a simpler time and place. It may bring back memories of growing up on a family farm [or] the joy of visiting grandparents or just allow you to be at peace.

“I like creating relationships between the animals on my pots, similar to relationships that my own animals have with each other.

“I’m not trying to have any profound impact on contemporary culture. I do not want or need my art to invoke a political statement. I do not want politics to infiltrate my studio or my thoughts while I am working. I need my studio to be a place of peace and relaxation.

“I find this in the farm scenes I have created on my pottery. Even though I did not grow up on a working farm, I have fallen in love with farm animals, wide open spaces, barns and old houses.”

The late Dr. Robert C. and Amparo Goering initiated the Greer Fine Arts Endowment at Bethel in 1979 in memory of their friend Milford E. Greer Jr., who was interested in literature and music and excelled as an artist, and who died in an auto accident in 1972 at age 45. The Greer Endowment helps bring visiting artists and scholars in the areas of music, visual arts or theater to the Bethel campus.

Bethel is a four-year liberal arts college founded in 1887 and is the oldest Mennonite college in North America. Known for academic excellence, Bethel ranks at #14 in the Washington Monthly list of “Best Bachelor’s Colleges,” and #24 in the U.S. News & World Report rankings of “Best Regional Colleges Midwest,” both for 2022-23. Bethel is the only Kansas college or university to be named a Truth, Racial Healing and Transformation (TRHT) Campus Center. For more information, see

About Bethel

As the first Mennonite college founded in North America, Bethel College celebrates a tradition of progressive Christian liberal arts education, diversity within community, and lifelong learning.