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Xavier Magazine | July 22, 2017

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The Office: Marsha Karagheusian

The Office: Marsha Karagheusian
By France Griggs Sloat

Like an afterthought, Marsha Karagheusian’s office is tucked into a corner of the rambling, crowded ceramics studio in the bowels of the Cohen Center.

It’s not very big. The shelves overflow with things she uses today as well as things she hasn’t touched in years, such as the Kodak carousels holding slides of art she once showed her students.

Collectively, it’s all a reflection of her 31 years at Xavier tinged by a love of art, sculpture, ceramics—and her students. Individually, it’s:

• Bas-relief ceramic sculpture of a nude woman lying on a deserted plain with skulls and bones and, in the background, volcanic mountains. This particular piece of Karagheusian’s art has been featured in several art books, as well as admitted to gallery showings including at the N.A.W.A. Gallery in New York City.

• Finished objects by her students, such as a large vessel with wavy sides in muted blues and greens, and another of two reddish pots resting in a wooden frame. One of these students is now a high school art teacher in Kentucky.

• A box of clay teapot handles made to demonstrate to her students but repurposed into napkin rings that are yet to be glazed.

• Items from nature—rosy quartz crystal, pink conch shells, white sea coral and gray animal bones—because “artists have always looked to nature from the beginning of time.”

• Unglazed orange-pink clay teapots, pitchers, mugs and bowls used to demonstrate the different forms of ceramic sculpture—flat slabs of clay to be shaped by hand, coils for the potter’s wheel, or delicately thin pinch pots that dry to the consistency of fragile egg shells.

• A wooden elephant in bright colors of blue, red, green and yellow with white tusks that came from Mexico as an example of how to use native country art to teach elementary-age students.

• Tools of the trade hanging by the door where she can handily grab what she needs to teach or work on her art: brushes for glazing, a hammer, a hacksaw, wire cutters, needle-nose pliers, screwdrivers and rubber gloves.

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