2020 Virtual Spring Art Fair preview: Making a mean mug

Note: Following the guidance of state and government officials, Columbus College of Art & Design has moved its 2020 Spring Art Fair online. See the juried selection of wares by CCAD students and alumni online at ccad.edu/artfair during the Virtual Spring Art Fair 5 p.m. Friday, April 10–11:59 p.m. Sunday, April 12. All sale proceeds will go directly to the artists, designers, and makers.

Chelsea Bennett (Fine Art, 2014) makes ceramics with personality to spare. The Marengo, Ohio native crafts mugs, ornaments, sculpture and more out of clay decorated with slip and glaze. A returning Art Fair participant, her work is priced to suit a range of budgets, from $25–$1,000. Read more from her below, and find additional examples of her work on Instagram and on her website.


What can people expect to see from you at the Art Fair?

People should expect to see my Impish Mug creations, Wall Mask Monsters, Bird ornaments, and some larger ceramic sculpture. Every year for the sale I have an array of new mugs—I don't usually recreate the same ones unless there seems to be a universal favorite. The Skully mug is usually well-liked.

What is your philosophy/the perspective behind your work?

My philosophy is “use what the Earth made for you.” Clay comes from the Earth and is an ancient material used to make vessels for everyday tasks since early man. My work is meant to be functional. The idea is to take its function and turn it into something current and funky that the public can digest. Making a sculpture accessible by way of actually using the sculpture to drink coffee or tea out of. I think my work excites people in this way. Instead of a factory-made mug, they're really getting a chance to connect to the art and with me in an intimate way through my work.


handsy mug for art fair
two sets of teethe work

What is your process like for making these goods?

The process is long. I make sketches of ideas I have for the pieces, pull any inspiration and resources needed and then go from there. After my idea is realized I can start building. The technique I use to build my forms is a pinching and coil method. After the body is made the carving and adding begins. Then color, then to dry and then to fire in the kiln to cone 05 and finally cone 5–6.

Why did you want to take part in the Art Fair? What kind of significance does it have to be selected for it? 

I enjoy the CCAD Art Fair. It's laid back, chill, and for the most part, stress-free. It's a good way to connect with other artists, meet new and old students, and connect with serious buyers. I'm grateful to the school and its staff for organizing a place open for students, alumni, and faculty to showcase and sell their work. It means a lot, to be recognized for your work by the place you got your education from. The Art Fair has not let me down so far in my career since I've graduated.

How has your CCAD education influenced the work you’ll be offering for sale?

I learned a lot about technique during my education. My ceramics professors gave me a thorough lesson on foundation studies. I had to pull a lot of handles and start from the basics before I could get the aesthetic just right. Having a good work ethic is incredibly important, too. As to the style of my work, I'd say researching, reading, and digging inside of yourself led to this style of work. My professors at CCAD encouraged us to seek inspiration from other great artists. Some of those I'm inspired by are Janis Mars Wunderlich, Tom Bartel, Sergei Isupov and H.R. Giger.


CCAD Spring Virtual Art Fair

5 p.m. Friday, April 10–11:59 p.m. Sunday, April 12

Spend $50 or more with one of our participating artists and you can enter to win a $50 gift certificate for CCAD’s Continuing & Professional Studies classes for children, teens, and adults.

Contest details