Baker’s cone box show makes big impact


A big show known for its tiny works of art returns to Baker University starting Tuesday.

The International Orton Cone Box Show runs through April 25 at the Holt-Russell Gallery at the Baldwin City university’s Parmenter Hall.

The show features 150 ceramic pieces that are no more than 3 inches by 3 inches by 6 inches in size. Those are the dimensions of an Orton Standard Pyrometric Cone Box, which ceramic artists use to monitor kiln temperatures during firings.

The works in the show were selected from more than 400 entries. Artists represented are from the United States, Canada, the United Kingdom, Australia, Denmark and Japan.

“I saw things that made me pause, whether at an exquisite craftsmanship, humor and whimsy or a wonderful weirdness and bizarreness,” said Bede Clarke, a University of Missouri art professor and juror for the show. “I was particularly impressed by the international scope of the entries.”

Best in show honors went to Wendy Kershaw, an artist from Scotland, for her entry “A Small Book of Chinese Proverbs” (Pictured at right).

The show began in 1975 as the brainchild of the late Lawrence artist Bill Bracker, who at the time was teaching at Purdue University. In 1977, Bracker brought the show to Lawrence for two years.

The competition was resurrected in 1994 by Inge Balch, a Baker art professor. Baldwin City has hosted the exhibit in alternating years since then.

An opening reception begins at 5 p.m. Tuesday. Gallery hours are 1 p.m.-4 p.m. weekdays and by appointment by calling (785) 594-4538.