2016 NCECA Graduate Student Fellowship

Kahlil Irving, Unity #1, 2014. Clay, wood, and paint. In the collection of the Andresia Family.

Posted by Katherine Welsch December 9, 2015


Kahlil Irving, MFA17, is the recipient of a 2016 Graduate Student Fellowship from the National Council on Education for the Ceramic Arts.

Irving will use the $4,000 award to produce predominately black dishware and a mural, with the goal of promoting the concept of handmade works to the St. Louis community.

"Currently I view my studio practice as a space to investigate community," Irving said. "I am interested in exploring replication, representation, the politics of object-ness, and the history of decorative arts."

"Growing up, I did not know that dishware could be handmade and unique," he continued. "As a black potter, I would like to create and sustain a platform for functional pottery to not only be produced, but also to be desired, wanted, and needed by others who may not have been exposed to it previously. I feel that if I can make dishes for people to eat from, decorate their homes with, or simply encounter, it will start a dialogue about making, place, culture, and how to positively create connections."

Working in collaboration with Craft Alliance, other local art centers, and restaurants, Irving plans to create dishware pieces out of clay that will be presented and sold to community members at more than affordable prices. Profits from those sales will help fund the production of additional dishware.

Irving will be presented with the award at the NCECA's 50th Anniversary Conference in Kansas City. For updates on his project, follow Irving on social media at Kahlil Irving on Facebook or @kahlilirving on Instagram.