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Georgette Zirbes: Interview, Retrospective Exhibition at DePauw University

Georgette Zirbes

On the occasion of the opening of Conversations, a retrospective exhibition now on display at DePauw University, Stamps Professor Emerita Georgette Zirbes reflected on her work, travels, and studies in a wide-ranging interview with Alexandra Chamberlain, Assistant Curator of Exhibitions and Education at DePauw University.

I always wanted the nature of travel to be integrated with my professional work. When I committed to the life of an artist, I thought France would be my travel after college, so I studied the French language at DePauw. Then I got hooked on ceramics and as a graduate student discovered Japan and its rich ceramic traditions. I was fortunate to receive a Fulbright Grant and lived and worked in Japan from 1964 to 1967, a life changing experience. Later, in 1985, I made my first trip across the Atlantic, traveling with my sister and my uncle to our ancestral village in Eastern Slovakia. I saw images that were familiar to me, though I had never actually seen them. I knew I needed to return for a more extensive period. I received a Fulbright Grant to (what was then) Czechoslovakia in 1987. I spent six months visiting artists, studios, museums, galleries and studying ceramic traditions. I was impressed with the energy and commitment of artists who were politically and economically deprived and yet, did so much with limited resources. My connection with these artists led to an invitation to my first International Symposium in 1990 outside Prague. One connection then led to another, and by 2009 I had participated in 16 international residencies. I felt like my work had become an entry card, a visual passport, to the world.


The exhibition, featuring more than thirty works, continues through April 9 at DePauw’s Richard E. Peeler Art Center. Spanning across her series, travels, and influences, visitors can witness not only a body of work developed through constant change and growth, but also the process of creativity throughout an artist’s life

Conversations: A Retrospective Exhibition
March 10 – April 92017
DePauw University, Richard E. Peeler Art Center
10 W. Hanna Street, Greencastle, Indiana