How different would the world have been had Texas Southern University not exceeded those purposes that were set out for us and produced those world champions.” In addition to Regent Lewis, remarks were given by TSU National Alumni Association President Julia Askew, Staff Council Chair Derrick Wilson, Faculty Assembly/Senate Chair Rasoul Saneifard,and Student Government President Crystal Owens.
Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs Dr. Ward presided over the ceremony and Director of the TSU Wesley Foundation Julius Wardley offered the invocation and benediction.
“In Japan they don’t have a word for ‘beauty,’ at least not in the way the west thinks of it,” Lewis explains. We just stand there in a line, passing the work along, admiring what ended up happening.” A small room, just down the hall from the studio, is stocked with Lewis’s recent work from Japan.
“The idea is more connected to imperfection, chance; that kind of thing.” Their practises embrace this idea and relish in what fate delivers. Made from Bizen and Shigaraki clays, and fired in kilns dating back to the 12 century, the pieces make up a remarkable collection.
And while TSU has remained true to that purpose and has served that purpose we also had high aspirations of our own," he stated.
“Texas Southern University is a very special place and the thing that makes us special is the fact that we have had to serve a dual purpose almost from the very beginning,” Lewis remarked.
“Hank Bull, who was curating, introduced me to Glenn,” Boyd recalls, absentmindedly molding a small thimble of clay. “It was the first time working with clay for a long time—maybe 20 years? Something new is always to be discovered, shared, and discussed—a trait visible in the works they make.
“Before that, though, he brought me aside and said, ‘This guy studied with Bernard Leach,’ and I was like, ‘What? That’s amazing.’ Because Bernard Leach is like this floating spirit.” After their introduction, the two became quick friends. Boyd, who attended the Nova Scotia College of Art and Design (NSCAD), has garnered a following of her own.
There are hand-shaped, flat bottomed bowls where Lewis has run his fingers along the side to make the indentations.
Observing his rather plain cap, its heft slightly pressing down his silver shoulder-length hair, and his matching tweed suit, slightly bulky as he pats-down the breast, I’m reminded of the many different kinds of dress Lewis has donned over the years.
Through all the textile iterations, sprawling decades, the one overarching consistency is Lewis’s individual brilliance.
The two unlikely studio mates and close friends share a remarkable intimacy, quietly quipping back and forth to each other, sharing inside jokes told with the same lighthearted, kind smirk.
The artists met in 2009 during an exhibition of Boyd’s at Vancouver’s Centre A. Boyd then turns to me, adding, “He’s a thrift store hound.” The pair soon started working together at a studio in East Vancouver, a kind of mentor and mentee relationship, marking Lewis’s return to the wheel after decades away. Despite the many years in between them, the two have an exceptional ease with their friendship; nothing is forced or laboured.