Goats and rabbits and sheep? Oh my!
WangLing Chou, an art professor at Louisiana Christian University, receives many variations on this exclamation from his students who may find themselves creating pottery any day while a goat nibbles on their shoelaces. .
Recently, she started making “goat ceramics,” and it’s been a buzz on campus. There is goat yoga; why not goat ceramics?
“They [goats] are very therapeutic,” she said. “They just walk around the classroom and they are very slow. The students love it. Goats will try to drink from their buckets of water, nibble at their pant legs. I usually bring a goat once a semester if the students are good. Also, animals are the best role models.
Chou’s most recent work, “Two Rooster Tea Pots,” won an Excellence Award at the 54th annual Tom Peyton Memorial Arts Festival in Alexandria in April. Over the years she has received much recognition for her unique use of waste to express her philozoic life. Her love of animals permeates everything she does.
Chou said she is happy to attend this arts festival regularly because it is important to the central Louisiana community and features outstanding original works.
“I have to be able to show my students that I’m still creative,” she said. “In addition to teaching, I always create my work. My work is centered on my love of animals.
LCU faculty member, ESL program director and English teacher Kathleen McGinty-Johnson said she has loved Chou’s works for many years.
“Ling’s art breathes new life into things that we think of as trash,” McGinty-Johnson said. “What I really love is how she incorporates her love of animals and nature into her pieces. Her earlier work often featured rabbits, but as she continues to expand her menagerie (sheep, cows, goats and a horse), she focuses more and more on them as subjects.
Chou, originally from Taiwan, taught at Louisiana Christian University for 14 years. She and her husband Matthew Stokes, an LC alumnus who teaches English at Louisiana State University – Alexandria, currently have 25 animals – a horse, donkey, calf, goat, sheep, cats and dogs. .
“I mainly teach beginners,” she said. “I go to the essentials. The more years I teach, the more I like the fundamentals, the simple things. I can see the beauty in the beginner. They can’t see it – the innocence, but the purity of beginners is so beautiful.
Chou admits she finds beauty in weird places, like things that most people reject. “I hate trash,” she says. “Everything must be put to the best use.”
She looks for ways to reuse things creatively. Many of his works of art take their form from recycled soda bottles.
“I take this thing, this Coke bottle, for example, that was only used once, and I ask how can I use it again,” Chou said. “I press it and change it. And right away, I see it’s a chicken. I give life and personality to the trash.
Her personality shows in the wonder and pop art feel of her work, and this resonates with her students, who often bring her beautiful junk, like attractive wrappers that have been discarded but can be reused in projects. artistic.
“My students love me so much they bring me trash,” laughs Chou.
Jocelyn Holt, a young art studio specializing in ceramics from Salinas, California, said Chou’s art is inspiring.
“She has such a strong style that comes through in all of her work,” Holt said. “I love how she incorporates her love of agriculture and her animals into her work and I aspire to do the same one day. Ling Chou is not only my teacher, she is like a mentor to me, and my life has changed forever since I met her.
Another former student of Chou who graduated from LCU in 2019, Michael Williams of Pineville, said she pushed him out of his comfort zone, so much so that he is currently completing his Masters of Fine Arts at Mississippi College.
“She got me into juried art shows before I pushed myself,” Williams said. “She always pushed me to go further in my art, never letting me settle down. I knew I wanted to pursue a career in ceramics in some form after my first class with Ling.
LCU President Dr. Rick Brewer said Chou’s art is a reminder that the Lord can also take trash, broken and discarded objects and turn them into masterpieces.
“Chou’s work is a faithful reminder of the transformative work of the Lord who takes our brokenness and brings restoration,” Brewer said. God specializes in producing pottery from clay. This worldview is central to the educational experience at Louisiana Christian University.