COM gallery displays ceramics collection

Posted on: February 26, 2013

Earthy, rock-like pots contrasting with delicate, fluted vases, College of the Mainland Art Gallery’s newest exhibit underscores creativity and diversity. “Conspicuous Consumption: Utilitarian Ceramics from the Collection of David and Louise Rosenfield” is a sampling from their more than 1,800-piece treasure trove.
“It’s all functional art. Many of the works came out of her kitchen cabinet. She actually uses them in daily life,” said Mayuko Gray, director of the COM Art Gallery.

 A Dallas collector and ceramics maker herself, Rosenfield describes herself as obsessed with ceramics.
“It involves all your senses. It’s visually engaging. It has texture, weight, makes a sound you hear,” Rosenfield said.

Rosenfield rediscovered the art when her son took a ceramics class to continue improving his fine motor skills after completing physical therapy. Rosenfield soon began taking classes herself and has continued for the past 20 years.
“I am a nonstop student,” she said.
It was because of her desire to support her teachers’ work that she first began collecting. Now her assortment has mushroomed to include artists from across the U.S., Europe, Australia and New Zealand. She discovers many new artists through workshops; others she finds online and corresponds with to determine whether their works will enhance her collection.
“Excellent craftsmanship is part of my individual requirement. It’s all functional ware in some way,” said Rosenfield.
For Rosenfield, even a seemingly mundane mug is a composite of details, the feel of the lip, the weight of the handle, the gloss of the finish. In her home each meal becomes a work of art as she selects which piece--the fire-hued hexagon or the fluted, black-swirled bowl, for instance--will best set off her salad or dessert.
“Do you enjoy it until you make a collaboration with it, it’s on the table?” she asked. “When people buy a teapot, put it on a shelf and it’s never used, they don’t get the sound as it pours, the smell of tea coming out.”

She displays her collection on a website,, which she hopes serves as a resource for ceramics students. As a student herself, she understands the need to see each piece from many angles and even upside down. She notes the means of forming and firing each piece so that others can learn from the masters’ techniques.

With more than 1,800 pieces, will the collection ever be finished?
“They do break,” said Rosenfield. Plus, “There’s always new people [creating].”
The exhibit will be displayed through March 28. A reception and gallery talk with Louise Rosenfield will be held March 18 at 2 p.m. For more information, contact director Mayuko Gray at or 409-933-8354.

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