On Monday afternoon, the atmosphere in the clay-splattered ceramics studio on the ground floor of Meek Hall was buzzing. In preparation for Double Decker, a group of upper-level art students is working diligently to produce plates, bowls, mugs and an assortment of other ceramic creations to be sold at the Mud Daubers booth on Oxford’s Square this Saturday.
Mud Daubers, aptly named for a variety of wasp that builds its nests from mud, is a student-led organization under the guidance of ceramics professor Matt Long. Its members are both undergraduate and graduate students enrolled in the advanced ceramics class.
Mud Daubers participates in year-round efforts to raise money for initiatives that benefit art students. Each year it brings in renowned artists to come to the university for demonstrations, student critiques and presentations.
Money raised from Mud Daubers events also sponsors students to go to national conferences, like the annual conference hosted by the National Council on Education for the Ceramic Arts. Mud Daubers’ fundraising events includes providing soup bowls for the charity event Empty Bowls, a Christmas sale on Business Row, and other Ole Miss alumni events.
This year’s booth, will contain the work of about 15 ceramics students who will be showcasing pottery of all shapes and sizes. Pieces from Mud Daubers span from the common— like vases and platters— to original sculptures.
Along with the work that will be sold at their booth, the trophies for the winners of the Double Decker Spring Run were also crafted by Mud Daubers ceramicists. Rosa Salas, vice president of the Mud Daubers and BFA candidate in ceramics, said one of the group’s goals is to create a variety of ceramic pieces.
“The work that we are selling is part of the larger body of work we are completing throughout the year,” Salas said. “It’s important to have the more familiar items like the mugs or bowls that will go on sale at Double Decker, but we are also interested in developing our fine art experience with ceramics.”
The organization has a longstanding presence at Double Decker, and this year is no different. Mud Daubers has brought students’ pottery to the festival for at least 12 years. Its booth is staffed by the artists, and 60% of the proceeds goes to these individual artists.
Senior art student Shelby Bickes sold pieces at last year’s Double Decker through the Mud Daubers booth. She said that one of her favorite experiences was getting to display her art for her family and friends.
“It was really rewarding to see that people had come to Double Decker to support me and Mud Daubers,” Bickes said. “I loved being able to explain the meaning of some elements and symbolism in my pottery to people who ultimately brought it home.”
The Mud Daubers booth at Double Decker provides ceramics students a space to share their craft with the Oxford community and other visitors who make their way to the Square every spring. Second-year graduate student and president of Mud Daubers Will McComb said that the festival is a great way to connect with customers and other artists.
“Of course as artists we want our work in people’s hands and homes, but it’s also a great opportunity to talk to people face to face and tell them what we do,” McComb said.
This weekend, you can find Mud Daubers’ work located at tents 108-109 outside Soulshine Pizza.