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The art of ceramics

Photos by Anthony Machcinski Wall mural of tiles depicting artist’s students graces Harrison Public Library.

By Anthony J. Machcinski

After living in East Hanover the last couple of years, former Harrison resident Lorraine Cicchino returns to her hometown to showcase her work at the public library.

While teaching crafts for the Elizabeth Board of Education, Cicchino started teaching ceramics to high school students. This is where Cicchino fell in love with the art.

“I came to love this medium so much that I began sculpting and doing wheel work in all my spare time,” Cicchino said.

Photos by Anthony Machcinski Example of other work

 

While studying art at Jersey City State College, Cicchino took only one class in ceramics, however, this did not deter the artist from the challenge.

“My coordinator teamed me with a mentor teacher and he taught me the ropes,” said Cicchino.

Cicchino’s work with the mentor allowed her to not only teach pottery in Elizabeth, but it would help bring her back to Harrison to work as a teacher at Washington Middle School.

“I also taught adult ceramics in the night school in both Elizabeth and Harrison,” Cicchino said. “It is wonderful having a job that is also my hobby.”

The exhibit in Harrison showcases Cicchino’s passion for her art. In her work, Cicchino has two favorite styles, one being hand-built houses, which, unfortunately, are not included in the Harrison show.

The work has great meaning to Cicchino. “The houses are highly detailed and are a symbol of family that has a special meaning to me,” she explained.

This process involves using clay that is rolled out with a rolling pin, sculpted, or built with ropes of clay.

Cicchino’s other favorite style, wheel-thrown pots, will be on display.
“My wheel-thrown teapots are another favorite just because of the challenge they present in construction,” Cicchino said.

While the exhibit will be on display only through June, Cicchino’s influence can be seen at the library well beyond that month.

“In the Harrison Library, there is a permanent wall mural of tiles done by my students,” Cicchino explained. “Each student is depicted in a self-portrait on each tile. It’s quite beautiful.”

Photos by Anthony Machcinski Example of other work

Regarding her exhibit, she said,  “(The Harrison Library) had mentioned to me that they were always interested in showing art work.

“I have never shown my work before and I figured this is a good place to start. I work here, I was born and raised here, and the staff couldn’t have been more receptive to the idea.”

Cicchino’s work will be shown in the library’s Children’s Room until the end of June. The library, located at 415 Harrison Ave., is open every day except for Wednesdays and Sundays. For exact hours, go to www.harrisonpubliclibrary.org.

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