A pair of Smith-Cotton High instructors has been selected to show their pottery this week at Teslacon, the biggest Steampunk convention in the United States. Joshua Heimsoth, pottery and sculpture teacher, and Macy Myers, a paraprofessional, own Muse Pottery and Ceramics, located on Main Street in Sedalia; the pair specializes in pottery inspired and influenced by steampunk, the art of Victorian future.
“The industrial era is like the last era before the industrial revolution where everything was made with flawless craftsmanship, it was all very, very ornate,” Heimsoth said. “The idea of steampunk is you take that idea of the Victorian way of doing things that are very artistic, and you apply that to modern day life.”
Myers said steampunk, which includes art, décor and clothing, “really is one of those last aesthetic movements in terms of people’s appearance. You really do have to make it from scratch – you can’t go to the mall and buy this stuff, which is what I appreciate so much about it. It’s wearable art.”
The convention is juried, meaning people from all over the U.S. may apply by submitting photos of their art forms but only about 25 percent of the applicants get in. Those accepted have the opportunity to vend as well as have their booth judged by a collection of artists who will grant awards such as best in show.
“Once you get in, you’re the top of the top; everyone in that room is good, really good,” Heimsoth said.
While Heimsoth throws the pottery and sculpture, Myers’ skill in painting leads her to handle glazing the products meticulously. They believe the combination makes a difference for the betterment of their art.
“That’s been the main thing that’s made our work so different from everyone else’s is that they’re all one of a kind,” Myers said. “We spend a lot of time on each mug, plate or piece of sculpture, whatever it is we’re putting out there. I know it’s been important for (Heimsoth) to get his art out there.”
Along with hopes of being recognized for their unique style of pottery, Heimsoth has hopes their appearance at Teslacon will help get their business’s name out more. Muse Pottery and Ceramics opened about a year ago, but the space has been used as a studio by Heimsoth for about a year and a half.
He became serious about opening the pottery business and invested in new equipment, but realized he could not do it on his own. Heimsoth and Myers knew each other from college when they shared an art class. It wasn’t until Myers started student teaching at Smith-Cotton that the two began to hatch an idea for going in together on a pottery business.
“I’ve owned my own business before with housekeeping, but getting to step back into working for myself again was something that I really enjoyed,” Myers said.
Linda Myers was reintroduced to pottery through Heimsoth. She is an administrative assistant for special services and insurance in the Sedalia School District 200 Central Office. Linda Myers first met Heimsoth when she and co-workers decided to attend art club and create pottery as part of a Christmas party. Linda continues to attend art club at the high school from time to time.
“I enjoyed art in high school and as an adult you’re so busy you just kind of put things aside,” she said. “Insurance is very detailed, very cut and dried. So it brings out the creative part in me.”
Linda’s style of pottery is more traditional compared with Heimsoth’s steampunk pieces.
“I like his work,” she said. “The steampunk I’m not crazy about, but I love the things he does with antlers. Even though I’m not into the steampunk art style, I’m open-minded enough to know what he’s doing is very good.”
Heimsoth is happy to have found his own niche.
“I think in a world where everything’s already been done and it’s really hard to find an original idea, I’ve done a lot of research looking for people that are doing my vibe of stuff,” he said. “I cannot find anybody doing what I’m doing, which is bizarre because you can always find someone on the Internet doing what you’re doing.”
Eli Kemp is a student at Smith-Cotton High School.