Art Council holds pottery workshop hosted by USM teacher

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Fisher Brown and Nicole Clinton work on their face jugs.

On Saturday, Sept.15, the Hattiesburg Art Council hosted a face jugs pottery workshop at the Hattiesburg Cultural Center.

Mark Rigsby, an associate professor from the Department of Art and Design at Southern Miss, introduced attendees to the art of face jugs, detailing its background and how they are produced before allowing attendees to make their own jugs. Two separate workshops were held that day, one for families and another for adults.

“We had seen that Mark Rigsby was holding a face-jug workshop on the coast and realized, ‘Wait a minute, why don’t we just bring him here [to Hattiesburg] to do one?’ And he agreed to do so,” Executive Director Rebekah Johnson said.

The face jug workshop is part of an ongoing effort by the council to introduce the people of Hattiesburg to the city’s artistic and musical side. The events also help garner a sense of community and help citizens meet neighbors they might not have otherwise.

“There’s a lot of interaction that takes place with the arts.  It’s not just only hands on. It’s interacting with each other, so it also builds relationships,” Johnson said.  “It’s an ice-breaker, and I think people feel comfortable to come to something with other people there when you’re all doing something, and it’s not just a passive thing.”

For the parents who brought their children, they say it is an opportunity for the kids to learn things that they would not learn in school.  It also provides a hands-on creative environment, something the technology culture of today does not allow much of.

“A lot of kids these days are always on the computer or on video games, so it’s important for them to learn to be creative and hands-on, which is something I feel we’ve lost,” parent Heather Rifkin said.  “I know growing up we played a lot, imagined things and kids now don’t really get that opportunity very much anymore, so that’s why I think it’s important.”

“I think it’s a great event for the kids and adults, it’s very unusual to create something useable and also have so much fun. You should take any opportunity to join a workshop and learn something you can’t learn elsewhere,” Andrea Cortokowski said.

Mark Rigsby has been doing face jug workshops since 1997. Growing up, he was always viewed as an artistic individual. Initially, Rigsby went to college to study architecture before changing his major to art, earning a BFA in ceramics and painting followed by a master’s degree in ceramics and sculpture.

“It’s a very enjoyable art form, very tactile,” Rigsby said. “It’s fun, and I think people should try different things; you know, people should try to paint, try to draw, try to work in clay, try something that they’re interested in.  You never know if you have a natural ability to do something or if you’re going to like it unless you try it.”

The Hattiesburg Arts Council has numerous activities planned for the remainder of the year. For more information, visit hattiesburgartscouncil.org.