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Obituary: James W. Kemp, Greenwood

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James. W. Kemp, 58, well-known Indiana ceramic artist, died Saturday, November 30, 2013, at his home in Greenwood. He is survived locally by his sister, Ann Herron, of Columbus.

A full-time, professional potter for more than 32 years, Jim’s work has been displayed in art museums and exhibitions throughout the United States. He has been the recipient of numerous awards and his work can be found in many public and private collections.

In 2011, the University of Indianapolis, his alma mater, honored him with a one-man exhibition displaying a 30-year retrospective of his art. The Indiana State Museum recently selected two of his pieces for its permanent collection.

Jim was admired and respected by his peers and was a regular exhibitor at juried art fairs around the country. In Indiana, he annually participated in the Penrod, Broad Ripple and Talbot Street art fairs in Indianapolis. Penrod presented him with its highest award - “Best of Show” - in 1999. In 2006 the board of the Broad Ripple Art Fair placed pictures of his work on posters and billboards throughout Indianapolis to advertise its event.

Over the span of his career, he created ceramic art within a variety of clay media. Recent works have centered on colorful wall platters, decorative lidded boxes and teapots. In addition, he taught ceramic art at various times at the University of Indianapolis, the Indianapolis Art Center and Herron School of Art.

Jim was born September 25, 1955, in New Albany, IN, the son of the Rev. Grester L. and Florence L. (Hemmer) Kemp, both of whom preceded him in death. He married Joni Metcalf on July 30, 1977, and she survives, along with their two sons, Samuel Kemp of Indianapolis and Toby Kemp of Bloomington. Other survivors include a brother, Philip (Patti) Kemp of Fort Wayne, and a sister, Ann (Bud) Herron of Columbus.

A memorial service will be conducted at Wilson-St. Pierre Greenwood Chapel, 481 W. Main Street, at 2 p.m. Saturday, December 7. Calling at the funeral home will be from 10:30 a.m. until the time of the service. A gathering with refreshments will follow the service.

Memorial donations in Jim’s honor may be made to the Local Clay Potters’ Guild, in care of Chris Bush, Treasurer, P.O. Box 1853, Bloomington, IN 47402.

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