Ernest R. Satchell
Like many long-serving University of Maryland Eastern Shore educators who came before him, Ernest R. Satchell earned a reputation as an institution within the institution.
A committed alumnus, respected teacher, master potter and mentor to students, alumni and co-workers, Ernie Satchell gave of his time, talent and treasure over a 39-year career.
Although retired, the Princess Anne resident can be found in the pottery studio in the Thomas and Briggs Arts & Technology Center making the distinctive pots for which he is widely known. His smile is contagious. His commitment to the university is remarkable. He continues to keep the university and its people close to his heart.
An Eastern Shore of Virginia native, Satchell taught himself to draw as a youngster using comic books as inspiration. He also learned to carve watching his father, who was a carpenter.
Satchell came to Maryland State College in the fall of 1959 to study art education. His teacher, Jimmie Mosely, soon became his mentor and introduced him to Kenneth Beittel of Penn State, a widely respected ceramic artist and educator. Satchell studied under Beittel for several weeks and became enamored with the art of ceramics. Under Beittel’s guidance, Satchell started producing tall pots, some as high as 40 inches.
After a four-year stint in the U.S. Navy, Satchell worked as a technical illustrator for the Vertol Division of the Boeing Aircraft Co. for two years. He enrolled in graduate school at Towson State College in 1970 to pursue a Master’s Degree in Art Education with a concentration in ceramics. A year later, he embarked on a teaching career at his alma mater that lasted almost four decades. Satchell returned to Towson University in 1988 to earn a Master of Fine Arts Degree in ceramics.
Satchell has exhibited his work extensively over the years with a number of solo and invitational shows to his credit. He is known for his extensive work in developing large pottery throwing techniques as well as unusual hand-building construction strategies.
“In my figurative work, I often portray common folks in a sincere manner with dignity and pride,” Satchell said.
“I go to great lengths to point out inequities in life as exemplified in the Earthscape series," he said. "I view myself as a clay conductor, who orchestrates images and presents them in ways that makes life relevant and meaningful to me.”
He served as chair of the Art Department from 1974 until 1988, when the music and art departments were merged. He was Art Coordinator from 1998-1999 and then served as Chair of the Fine Arts Department from 1999 until his retirement in 2010.
While teaching was his focus, Satchell also was involved in local, national and international initiatives. He conducted numerous workshops for teachers, served as an “art specialist” with the Maryland State Department of Education and chaired the state Art Credit Count Committee for the state agency.
Satchell met his wife, Elsa, in Philadelphia in 1966. Elsa Satchell also worked at UMES – as a technical assistant in the Frederick Douglass Library for 32 years and together they share a deep commitment to the university and students. In 2009, the couple established and fully endowed the Ernest E. Satchell Scholarships for Fine Arts fund.
They are the parents of two children, and the proud grandparents to two grandsons. In retirement, the Satchells spend a great deal of time traveling and visiting family and friends.
-- VERONIQUE DIRIKER, Ph.D.