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CCAC holds artist reception for Kerns and Mateer

  • The Charles City Arts Center held a reception Friday for ceramic artists James Kerns and William Mateer (pictured). The two will have their work featured at the CCAC during the month of June. (Press photo James Grob.)

  • The Charles City Arts Center held a reception Friday for ceramic artists James Kerns and William Mateer. The two will have their work featured at the CCAC during the month of June. (Press photo James Grob.)

  • The Charles City Arts Center held a reception Friday for ceramic artists James Kerns and William Mateer. The two will have their work featured at the CCAC during the month of June. (Press photo James Grob.)

  • The Charles City Arts Center held a reception Friday for ceramic artists James Kerns (pictured) and William Mateer. The two will have their work featured at the CCAC during the month of June. (Press photo James Grob.)

  • The Charles City Arts Center held a reception Friday for ceramic artists James Kerns and William Mateer. The two will have their work featured at the CCAC during the month of June. (Press photo James Grob.)

By James Grob, jgrob@charlescitypress.com

The Charles City Arts Center held a reception Friday for ceramic artists James Kerns and William Mateer. The two will have their work featured at the Arts Center during June, with the display entitled “From This Comes This, Pottery by James Kerns and William Mateer.”

Kerns and Mateer have both had careers for more than 50 years as ceramic potters. The two began their artistic journey as lab partners as students at the University of Northern Iowa.

“We took our first basic ceramics class together at UNI, and continued to take classes together,” Mateer said. “We built kilns together and made pots together for a long time.”

Mateer was part of a two-person art show more than 20 years ago in Charles City, and he and Kerns have participated in Charles City’s Artafest festival.

“This is wonderful,” Mateer said of the CCAC on Friday. “This is really a nice facility, this is a real gem for Charles City to have.”

Mateer graduated from UNI in 1970 with a degree in art education, with an emphasis in ceramics. Kerns graduated in 1971, with degrees in ceramics, physics and teaching, with post-graduate work in ceramics after that. The two participated in their first art festival together while students in 1968. They exhibit their work at more than 50 shows, exhibitions, galleries and collections throughout the midwest. Mateer said their art goes together well.

“We fire at the same temperatures and use basically the same glazes,” he said. “Our different personalities come through in the different pots.”

Kerns taught ceramics at UNI from 1987-1992. He worked for 41 years for John Deere before doing consulting work. Mateer teaches ceramics at North Iowa Area Community college. He has farmed and had a studio near Sheffield since 1973. He served in the Peace Corps in Ethiopia, working with woman potters in the early 1970s.

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