How do we honor an innovator? Do we associate their name with their creation forever, like Eli Whitney and the cotton gin? Do we raise a statue in their honor? Do we put their name on a piece of currency?
Around here, we make a digital collection out of their work, like we did with Harding Black.
From the 1930s to the 1990s, Black was a master ceramist operating out of San Antonio. His pieces are sought after by collectors and, thanks to his long friendship with a Baylor art professor, hundreds of them have been housed in the Department of Art since Black’s retirement in 1995.
Black is perhaps most known for his innovations in the realm of color. Black kept notebooks filled with his formulas – labeled with codes like C543, D349 and 4FUY30 – that specified the mix of pigments to create colors like Orange-Peel Oxblood and Pale Blue Celadon.
Now, thanks to the efforts of Museum Studies graduate student Josh Garland and professor of art Paul McCoy, Baylor’s collection of Black’s work has been photographed and cataloged and loaded into our new Harding Black Collection. In the collection, you can view hundreds of examples of Black’s work, watch videos of interviews with and about Black and even peruse his glaze formulas notebooks.
Special thanks to our metadata librarian, Kara Long, for guiding the staff at The Texas Collection to ensure these items have robust, searchable metadata and to Amanda Dietz for coordinating the project in your neck of the woods.
Sample Items from the Digital Collection
Connect with Harding Black Materials Online
Discovering Harding Black (via the Department of Art)
(And, as ever: Fire the Cannon!)