Limestone Professor Of Art Carolyn Ford To Have Clay Carving On Display In California

Charles Wyatt
Ford Clay Art

Limestone University Professor of Art Carolyn Ford will have her recently completed two-ton clay art column on display for the public on the West Coast to admire.

Ford recently completed her artist residency at Mission Clay Art + Industry at Mission Building Products in Phoenix, AZ. This location is known for the manufacturing of sustainable earthquake-resistant ceramic sewer pipes fired in the world’s largest kilns.

The clay art column will be on display in Sacramento, CA.

While at the factory, Ford completed her third art column made from a two-plus ton extruded sewer pipe, sgraffito low-relief carved drawings, and underglaze color. Once completed, it was fired to vitrification able to withstand harsh conditions as public art.

“The original intention was to find placement through the Arts in the Airports program in an international departure wing,” said Ford. “The imagery I carved and painted portrays iconic travel locations with regional art, crafts, architecture, music, and dance. However, I am excited to announce that this piece is slated to be placed in Sacramento, California through 2022 at Drake’s: The Barn, an outdoor gathering place and concert venue during the National Council for the Education of Ceramic Arts Conference.”

Clay pipe is the longest lasting, most sustainable, and environmentally friendly pipe product to ever be designed. The superior properties of clay pipe in Europe date back over 2000 years, and clay pipelines installed in the United States 200 years ago remain in service today. Many of the largest cities in the country specify vitrified clay for their gravity sewers – New York, Los Angeles, Chicago, Seattle, Portland, Phoenix, and others recognize the importance of installing infrastructure that lasts, and clay pipe delivers a minimum 100-year service life.

After its stay in California, Ford’s clay pipe art will be able to be purchased and moved to a new site. Other notable works created at Mission by well-known ceramic artists include Jun Kaneko, Don Reitz, Pat Siler, and John Toki.

“Having the time, supplies, and facilities available to complete my residency was an opportunity of a lifetime,” Ford noted. “Not only did I have access to creating monumental art, but I also learned about the industrial manufacturing side to my medium. Ceramics goes far beyond historical pottery. It is an interdisciplinary art incorporating art, science, math, engineering, and more. It’s my goal to be able to return to Mission and create public art for our region.

“Public art such as murals and sculpture have the ability to beautify, uplift, educate and build civic pride,” she continued. “Grants, community support, and generous donations are all part of bringing public art to the masses. I would like to give a heartfelt ‘thank you’ to Limestone for supporting my sabbatical, as well as Bryan Vansell, owner of Mission Clay and President of Laguna Clay, for his support in my endeavors.”

Ford will be featured as a demonstrating artist for Laguna Clay’s new Silky Underglaze line used on her pipes during the March 2022 National Council for the Education of Ceramic Arts Conference.

A part of the Limestone University Art Department since 2003, Ford previously served as Department Chair and is now serving as Program Manager. Her works are published and exhibited nationally, and also belong to the Asheville Art Museum’s permanent collection and sold in the Museum Shop. For more information on her work, visit

Accompanying photo: Ford at Mission Clay Art + Industry at Mission Building Products in Phoenix, AZ.