Arts & Life, Features

The CSULB Color Collection: Lillian Babcock

Nearly every morning, untouched clay,  unfinished goblets and cups line Lillian Babcock’s studio. The ceramics major and art history and English literature minor works meticulously on her pottery late into the nights.

“I’m a very meticulous person,” Babcock said. “I like to make things that are useful and functional … [like a] teapot that doesn’t drip when you pour it, a cup that’s comfortable to drink out of.”

Her process is methodical. She starts with a sketch, then decides how much clay to use. After wedging the clay, she weighs it and begins forming shapes on the wheel.

Most of Babcock’s work is pottery, which is the process of making vessels such as tableware on a pottery wheel. 

Babcock came to Long Beach State to take a ceramics class and was instantly hooked. Despite having been into ceramics since she was a child, she never imagined this medium would be something she would be working on for the rest of her life.

Today, Babcock is one of only a few students in the School of Art creating pottery.

Babcock showcased a collection of personalized tableware such as bowls and teacups, during her BFA exhibition on Sept. 1. The project was inspired by her passion to create ceramics that people can use to “enrich how they live.”

“Eating out of handmade ceramics speaks to this age-old tradition of nourishment and daily rituals of eating with our family,” she said. “This brings us back to family. It brings us back to sitting around the table [and] making food together, and I love that sense of community in my own family.”

Having known Babcock for five years as a student and student assistant, ceramics faculty member Tony Marsh has been able to watch her grow into a serious and dedicated artist. 

“Lillian is a serious focused student who traversed her undergraduate education with a clarity of purpose,” Marsh said.

Post BFA ceramics student, Jorge Jiminez describes her as someone who always works hard to produce quality ceramics.

“It’s … hard to look at her stuff and not want to take it home,” Jiminez said. 

Javier Martinez, a BFA ceramics major, enjoys working side by side with her in their shared studio space. 

“Being around her is actually pretty scary, but just watching her work and how much of a perfectionist she is with her work just rubs off on you and get more motivation,” Martinez said.

Babcock currently runs Beeware Ceramics, her line of handmade tableware that she markets. She also showcases her work at exhibitions. Last May, she presented four detailed cups decorated with 22 karat gold at Red Lodge Clay Center, a ceramics workspace in Red Lodge, Montana.

Babcock said that one of her favorite aspects of being a ceramics major is building relationships with students and professors. She encourages everyone to give ceramics a chance. 

“Forget your social life and take advantage of the kiln for a little bit,” Babcock said. 

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