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Ceramics artist influenced by botanical life and hidden nature

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NORTH NEWTON, KAN. – Now on display at Bethel College’s Fine Arts Center Gallery is “Efflorescence in Clay” by St. John artist Carol Long.

The artist reception will be part of Fall Festival celebrations at the college, 6-8 p.m. Oct. 4 outside the gallery. The public is invited.

Long is “inspired by botanical life and hidden aspects of nature” in her work, she said in her artist statement. “I emulate my inspirations with an elaborate flow of shape, line and texture. My work begins with shape and form.

“Depth is added through texture. Intricate slip application and glazing brings organic unity to the finished piece.” 

In her current work, she uses a white mid-temperature clay body, fired to cone 5 oxidation, and a variety of methods, including throwing, slabwork, extrusions and hand-building.

Long was raised on a farm in Stafford County that was homesteaded in the 1880s. By the time of her childhood, there were enormous mature trees and a thick shelter belt. Exploring these wooded areas, Long found a connection with nature and developed her deep appreciation of plant and animal life.

Long’s mother was interested in art and often took her daughter to art museums. As a child, Long would express herself by bringing her imagination to life, such by using her father’s cattle syringe, filled with mud, to draw on the driveway.

Long excelled in art in high school, where her teacher, Sheldon Ganstrom, now a prominent raku artist, helped spark her interest in ceramics. When she moved on to Barton County Community College, she realized she was always ending up in the ceramics lab.

She has studied with Glenda Taylor, Linda Ganstrom and Steve Dudek and has now taken on two apprentices herself.

“I’m thrilled with the new energy in my studio,” she said. “I look forward to new venues and future expansion.”

Long’s work has been featured at the Strecker-Nelson Gallery in Manhattan and can also be found at Bella Luz in Wichita and the Courtyard Gallery in Lindsborg. She has a booth each year at the Outdoor Living Show (formerly known as the Wichita Garden Show). Her most recent work is always available on her website,

“Efflorescence in Clay” is on display in the Fine Arts Center Gallery through Oct. 25.

The FAC Gallery is open Monday-Friday, 8 a.m.-5 p.m., and Sunday, 2-4 p.m. during the school year (closed during holidays and school breaks). Admission is free.

Bethel College is the only private, liberal arts college in Kansas listed in the 2013-14 analysis of top colleges and universities in the United States, and is the highest-ranked Kansas college in the Washington Monthly annual college guide for 2013-14. The four-year liberal arts college is affiliated with Mennonite Church USA. For more information, see

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