Four faculty members, student win awards at Ames art exhibition


Suhaib Tawil/Iowa State Daily

Top left to Right: Joseph Muench, Chris Martin. Bottom Left to Right: Jennifer Drinkwater, Teresa Paschke. These four faculty members from the College of Design won awards at the Octagon Center for the Arts in Ames.

Blake Dowson

Four faculty members from the integrated studio arts department and one student from the College of Design brought home awards from the 46th National Clay, Fiber, Paper, Glass, Metal, Wood Exhibition in Ames.

The faculty members include Jennifer Drinkwater, Chris Martin, Joe Muench and Teresa Paschke. Omar Ibrahim, senior in integrated studio arts, also received an honorary mention.

Ibrahim was not available for comment.

Drinkwater, a senior lecturer, finished in second place for her painting “Bridging the Gap.”

“It was a surprise and a great honor [to win second place],” Drinkwater said. “The exhibition is full of really exceptional work.”

Drinkwater said that she finds inspiration for her work from many different things.

“I usually have an overarching narrative in my mind about how the different images come together to create a synthesized piece, but it’s not a stagnant story,” Drinkwater said. “I prefer to hear how others formulate their own ideas from what they’re seeing in the painting.”

As for what it takes to be successful in the art world, Drinkwater said much of it is luck and personal preference.

Martin, an associate professor, won first place for his sculpture “Tribal Stool.”

Martin said that his inspiration for his artwork came from his time in the Peace Corps.

“From 2008 through 2010, I took leave from Iowa State and joined the Peace Corps in Ghana,” Martin said. “The stool is a tribal stool that village chiefs use as their throne.”

Martin said he didn’t expect to win first place at the exhibition.

“It was a pleasant surprise,” he said. “[Stools are] new for me, and I was a little nervous. I wondered what the reception would be.”

Martin also said his passion for art started a long time ago.

“I got my undergraduate [degree] from ISU, and came in as an architecture major,” he said. “I decided that architecture wasn’t for me because I couldn’t stand just drawing up things and not making them. I changed my major so I could draw up those ideas and actually make them.”

Martin says to be successful in the art world, you must connect with your work.

“I don’t go into every show expecting to win. Just be honest with yourself, and be connected with your work. A lot of my emotions are connected to my work.” He said.

Muench, also an associate professor, was awarded an honorary mention for his work “Yield.”

“It is an honor to win an award of any kind in an exhibition,” Muench said. “It is a juror’s stamp of approval on a piece and is a nice acknowledgment for the effort. Many other pieces in the show are equally deserving of this acknowledgement.”

Muench said that “Yield” is part of a series he has created. 

Muench has had his passion for art since day one.

“I’ve had it most of my life,” Muench said. “I found it, or it found me. I’ve always drawn, always made things, and the satisfaction of making something from nothing appealed to me.”

Paschke, an associate professor, won the Winifred V. Brown Best of Show award for “Hip Hop Sampler.”

Paschke also said the Mimaki wide-format ink jet printer for textiles in LeBaron helped her with her artwork.

“I had been printing textiles by hand for many years and this innovative technology provided an opportunity to take my artwork in a new direction,” she said.

Paschke learned her passion for art at a young age, too.

“I’ve been a practicing artist for most of my life,” Paschke said. “Like many artists, I started making artwork as a child, and by the age of 15 was painting almost daily.”

Paschke said that persistence is the key to obtaining success.

“Being successful requires a willingness to fail,” Paschke said. “Artists in particular must have thick skin to pursue their passion.”