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FACULTY SHOW 2009: Recent Work by SRJC Faculty

November 5 - December 12, 2009

“Trio” Tubular Drums

Joel Bennett,“Trio” Tubular Drums
pit-fired clay, 23 to 26 inches long 2007

Artist Statement

I’ve been making burnished, pit fired ceramics for over 25 years. There’s a quality about the surface that I find very appealing. Unlike glaze, which comes from silica, is very hard, durable, but “cold” to the touch, the burnished surface and low temperature of the firing process results in a very soft and “sensual” surface. I’ve also found myself intrigued by the sound created when tapping on the smooth, unglazed surface.  Pit firing, like Raku, renders each piece with a unique variety of colors and fire markings. Wood, sawdust, seaweed, dung, copper carbonate, and other organic materials are used in the firing.

Since I’m involved with performing Afro-Cuban music, which relies heavily on percussion, it’s been natural for my clay work to evolve into the area of burnished, pit-fired percussive instruments. “Trio” Tubular Drums are variations of the traditional Udu drum, which comes from Nigeria, Africa.

Teaching Philosophy

In the ceramics program here at SRJC, we cover many areas in the medium from functional pottery to sculpture, various surface decorating techniques fired at a range of temperatures from low-fire to stoneware. I’ve always felt as a teacher, it is important to share with students my own work and directions in ceramics. That is why in my classes I teach the burnishing technique, and lead a pit firing that is held out at the beach each semester.


Santa Rosa Junior College is officially accredited by the Western Association of Schools and Colleges