The Secret of Muddy Water

John Michael Kohler Arts Center

Feb. 17, 2024 - May. 19, 2024

608 New York Ave
Sheboygan, WI, 53081
PHONE 920 458-6144

When artists began making work at Kohler Co. factory in 1974, they were taught some of the industrial techniques Kohler associates were willing to share. One of these processes allowed artists to create larger works without the issues of cracking and collapsing that commonly hindered them. That technique involves the use of slip, a mixture of water and clay.

Clayton Hill, a Kohler Co. associate who worked alongside many artists in the early years of the Arts/Industry residency program, described this method as the “secret” of “muddy water.” It was an approach to working with clay that could have been acquired only in Wisconsin, where industry required this mixture to produce large-scale products such as sinks.

The Secret of Muddy Water celebrates the essence of Wisconsin, the industries rooted in the state, and what makes Arts/Industry’s location a source of delight and wonder for artists who temporarily relocate for the experience.

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