By Madelyn Alexander
Exchange is the key to any worthwhile conversation as Dr. Scott Meyer explained on the gallery’s opening day. Exchange ensures that everyone involved is getting the best possible output from the interaction. It is also what gives The Crucible Project its distinct collaborative nature and harmonious intersection of disciplines.
The Crucible Project is a ceramic and glass sculpture gallery on display in the Poole Art Gallery at the Center for the Arts on campus. The gallery opened on Oct. 28 and one of the contributing artists, University of Montevallo professor Scott Meyer, held an artist’s talk about the works at 4 p.m. on opening day.
The gallery included elements of alchemy such as ladles and their stands, crucibles and beakers. Glass elements were featured to encase, adorn, emphasize and compliment certain pieces. The sculptures ranged in size, with some being about a foot tall and others being a similar height to some of the people that walked through the gallery.
Meyer described how The Crucible Project is a collection of works that draw on the alchemical and transformative purpose of a crucible. The role of a crucible is to combine and purify metals, and in alchemy it was the most vital instrument for the interdependence of “matter, mind and heart.”
In the same fashion that the crucible combines unalike elements, The Crucible Project combines art of different mediums into cohesive pieces. Ceramics and glass are both hands-on processes that often require a team, so it was natural to do The Crucible Project with a team of artists. Alchemy as a practice became a fitting metaphor for the group that collaborated on The Crucible Project.
There are four contributing artists to The Crucible Project: Scott Meyer, Richard Hirsch, Ken Baskin and Michael Rogers. Meyer, Hirsch and Baskin are all renowned ceramic artists who show a masterful manipulation of their mediums. Rogers is the glass artist of the group and his work is expertly refined and featured throughout the gallery.
All four artists were present in an artists’ discussion about the gallery via Zoom on Nov. 4. They each shared their favorite pieces from the gallery and gave their individual statements about The Crucible Project. They all agreed that in order to make a project like this work, they had to trust each other.
Baskin said, “If you don’t have trust, it doesn’t work.”
The Crucible Project began with Hirsch and Meyer around 12 years ago. Meyer had been producing crucibles for some time before Hirsch proposed a collaboration. This collaboration soon acquired the works of Baskin and Rogers, creating what Hirsch called “ceramic and glass music.”
The gallery will remain open until Dec. 2. The Crucible Project may not end in its current state. The artists agreed that what they have accomplished “only scratches the surface of what’s possible.”
Madelyn Alexander is the Editor in chief for The Alabamian. She is a senior art major with a minor in multimedia journalism. Her hobbies include ceramics, reading and collecting plants.