Jihye Han, Tammie Rubin, & Earnest Snell Receive ClayHouston’s Inaugural Award for Texas BIPOC Ceramic Artists

by Jessica Fuentes January 14, 2022

Limitless: The Recipients of ClayHouston’s Award for Texas BIPOC Ceramic Artists opens at the Houston Center for Contemporary Craft (HCCC) Saturday, January 15, 2022. The exhibition features work by the 2021 recipients of the inaugural award: Jihye Han, Tammie Rubin, and Earnest Snell. 

ClayHouston, a nonprofit member-based organization dedicated to supporting ceramic arts in Houston and beyond, announced the call for applications for this award in February 2021. The award was established in response to two major events in 2020: the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic and the uprisings protesting police brutality against Black people.

Jessica Phillips, ClayHouston President shared in a press release, “Since 2020, the ClayHouston board has spent time reflecting upon the field of ceramics, both locally in Houston, as well as more broadly in the US. Our goal is to support artists who are affected by systemic racism as well as the economic uncertainty that COVID has created. By creating the Award for Texas BIPOC Ceramic Artists, we hope to cultivate greater equity, inclusivity, and access in ceramic arts.”

Jurors Natalia Arbelaez, Adam Chau, Jennifer Ling Datchuk, and Roberto Lugo were tasked with choosing awardees for the categories of “Emerging” and “Mid-Career & Beyond.” However, due to the large pool of deserving applicants, jurors requested the inclusion of a third award — “Honorable Mention.” 

Limitless: The 2021 Recipients of the ClayHouston Award for Texas BIPOC Ceramic Artists is curated by HCCC Curatorial Fellow Cydney Elaine Pickens and will be on view from January 15 – March 5, 2022.

Learn more about the award recipients via their biographies below, courtesy of HCCC. For more information on the show, please visit HCCC’s website.

A photograph of a ceramic sculpture. The object is painted white with brightly painted illustrations. Artwork by Jihye Han.

Jihye Han, “Little Moments and Big Memories,” 2021, White stoneware, cone 6 oxidation, 19 x 13 x 13 Inches. Photo by Yeonsoo Kim. Photo courtesy Jihye Han.

Jihye Han, Emerging Award Recipient

Jihye Han, working in Houston, Texas, received her BFA in sculpture and ceramics from the University of North Carolina at Greensboro and her MFA in ceramics from the University of North Texas. She has exhibited at 500X Gallery (Dallas, TX), CICA Museum (Gimpo, South Korea), Clay Center of New Orleans, and other venues. She is the recipient of many awards and fellowships, including a 2021 Graduate Student Fellowship for the National Council on Education for the Ceramic Arts (NCECA) and a 2022 residency with Houston Center for Contemporary Craft.

A photograph of a grouping of 7 sculptures of various size. Each component is cone shaped with a pair of circles or almond-shaped holes resembling eyes. Some of the works are completely painted black while others are white and covered with black circles that are placed close to each other. Artwork by Tammie Rubin.

Tammie Rubin, “Always & Forever (ever, ever) No.9,” 2021. Pigmented porcelain, underglaze. Photo by Hector Martinez. Photo courtesy of Tammie Rubin.

Tammie Rubin, Mid Career & Beyond Recipient

Born in Chicago, IL, Tammie Rubin is currently Associate Professor of Ceramics and Sculpture at St. Edward’s University in Austin, TX. Rubin received her BFA in ceramics and art history from the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign, and an MFA in ceramics at the University of Washington in Seattle. She has exhibited nationwide at Women & Their Work (Austin, TX), The South Dallas Cultural Center (Dallas, TX), Rockford Art Museum, and other venues. Rubin founded Black Mountain Project, along with fellow Austin-based artists Adrian Aguilera and Betelhem Makonnen. Currently, she is a member of the non-profit cooperative gallery, ICOSA Collective, and serves as Vice Chair of the City of Austin’s Cultural Arts Division Art in Public Places Panel.

A photograph of a sculpture of a figure. The body of the figure has two images of people carved into the sides. Artwork by Earnest Snell.

Earnest Snell, “Big Mama,” 2005. Stoneware clay with oxides. 18 x 9 x 9 Inches. Photo by Judy Adams. Photo courtesy of Foelber Gallery & Pottery Studio.

Earnest Snell, Honorable Mention Recipient

Earnest Snell is a self-taught artist located in Houston, TX. He is currently represented by Foelber Gallery and Pottery Studio and has been working with ceramics for 15 years. In early 2021, he had a solo exhibition at Foelber Gallery, entitled, Earnest Snell at 70. A Retrospective in Clay.

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