Magazine article Ceramics Art & Perception

A Luminous Balance: The Life of Glenda Taylor (1954-2015)

Magazine article Ceramics Art & Perception

A Luminous Balance: The Life of Glenda Taylor (1954-2015)

Article excerpt

Glenda Taylor's glowing, tenacious spirit graced everything she encountered. As in the vivid translucent vessels she built, her energy emanated throughout the diverse realms of ceramics, cycling, academia and community. With the deceptive strength and inherent elegance of the porcelain she manipulated and bikes she raced, she achieved a level of balance only an abstract to most. In fact, for the countless students she mentoured, athletes and colleagues she inspired, friends and family she loved, she was the stabiliser, the chain connecting gears, the bowl that generously held and served.

How does a farm girl from Chapman, Kansas, US go from blowing up little clay 'grain elevators' in her mother's oven to becoming NCECA's 2005-2008 Director at Large? When covering her bike with clay from the creek, did teen-aged Glenda see herself as someday chairing Washburn University's Art Department, let alone teaching ceramics, sculpture and art education there for 28 years? What compelled a young woman whose high school offered no female sports to reach the honour of carrying the 1996 Olympic Games Torch on her bike from Lawrence to Topeka, Kansas?

Perhaps it was her passion --a deep current of courage, discipline and joy--harvested from the prairie earth and sun. Fuelling her sharply tuned, analytical mind and skilled hands trained at Bethany College (BA), Emporia State University (MA) and Kansas State University (MFA), Glenda's devotion to a life in clay was evidenced through the sculptural and functional pots she exhibited internationally for nearly 40 years. To students she generously transmitted experiences from residencies at the University of South Australia, Anderson Ranch Arts Center, Archie Bray Foundation and Red Lodge Clay Center. She also served as the 2010-2014 NCECA Secretary, the 1990-1992 Kansas Artist Craftsman Association President, and faithfully supported numerous local organisations. …

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