Mr. Raeder opens latest exhibition

Have you ever wanted to be hypnotized?  What if the outcome was that you would suddenly learn how to create beautiful works of ceramics on the pottery wheel?  It sounds oddly enticing, and it’s possible through upper school ceramics teacher Mr. Jacob Raeder’s recent collaboration with filmmaker Hsin-Yu Chen. 

Mr. Raeder’s exhibit, in collaboration with Hsin-Yu Chen – Sean Allen ’25

In tandem with filmmaking, Mr. Raeder and his partner Laila have recently collaborated on a ceramic exhibit in North Philly. Mr. Raeder and Laila go under the artistic alias “Better Lovers,” and they have no limit on their work’s creative design. As Better Lovers, they draw upon each other’s skillset in a way that intrigues the viewer through a unique artistic portrayal. Mr. Raeder recalled a quote from his professor: “People who learn to use the pottery wheel become infected by it, in a sense that it is a way of thinking about the world that becomes hard to escape.” 

I was fortunate enough to see their display firsthand and I came back with many questions. One piece appeared as a dice table with tons of warped and disfigured dice. When I asked Mr. Raeder about the dice piece, he described the dice table as vibrating so that the dice move in the movie shot.  

“The show was about making sculptures that housed the film,” Mr. Raeder said. 

“…By watching these films, you would then know how to throw on the pottery wheel.”

Mr. Jacob Raeder

The series of hypnosis films are about working a pottery wheel, learning through viewing and absorbing the ability, just like Neo learning Kung Fu in The Matrix movies. Mr. Raeder described the films as  “Executed earnestly, and by watching these films, you would then know how to throw on the pottery wheel.”  

Mr. Raeder also provided insight into his admiration for pedagogy, a method of teaching theory and concept. Having collaborated with Hsin-Yu Chen for three years, Better Lovers adjusted a sculptural implication in the film that shows in some of the work in the gallery. Urschrei  is the title of the ceramics exhibit, a German word that translates to “Primal Scream.”