Articles

Elenor Wilson, Editor.  Illustration by Zoe Pappenheimer.
"The vibrations of music do not stick to the strings of the violin but fill the surrounding space with their melody." --Eliel Saarinen
Cary Esser, Veils, 2015-16. Glazed earthenware tile. 16.5 x 7.5 x .25 in. Photograph by E.G. Schempf.
I gradually came to realize that I was looking at fired, and sometimes glazed, clay on these buildings – it was my first intimation of the formidable history of ceramics in architecture.
 Ayumi Horie works on "Portland" bricks in her studio. Photograph by Janine Grant.
Instead of commemorating the famous “fathers” of the city, our project highlights the immigrants, the women, the marginalized, the voices that typically are not heard.
Detail of the Park Guell mosaics by Antoni Gaudi and Josep Maria Jujol i Gilbert, built 1900-1914.
The art of ceramics has given culture two very important tools. The first, obviously, is pottery . . . that other tool is the brick, and by extension the tile, and both are necessary building blocks of architecture.
In the early 1980s, I was teaching a ceramics class at the School of Visual Arts (SVA) in New York City and living in the neighborhood of Gramercy Park. After four years of carefully wheeling my daughter in her stroller around potholes, high curbs, and worse, I was free to look up once again. The buildings in those areas were the subjects of my first investigations into ceramics in architecture.
Top Slide: Harry Holl. Porcelain Plate, 1976. Diameter: 18 in.
Harry’s need to work hard came out of the crucible of war. He had seen many lives lost. He needed to make his life count, to share his experience and knowledge with others. Harry had no secrets.
"Neo Industrial Art Object" drawing by Jonathan Kaplan and Clark Willingham.
Those pivotal years studying the physical structure, history, and construction of buildings, as well as architectural design philosophy, were the beginning of a journey to find my own voice in ceramics.
Illustration by Rachel Ang
As the kiln approached Cone 9, about 1,250 degrees Celsius, the floor melted away, and all our work made a long, slow journey toward the walls, then slid farther down the interior of the kiln, landing in a heap in front of the gas burner.
Ben Carter, 2016. Photograph by Tim Robinson, courtesy of Voyager Press.
It’s a lot like fishing. My role as the interviewer is to cast a line of deliciously loaded questions, hoping the person sitting across from me grabs the hook.
Unveiling (removal of insulating fiber) of Nina Hole sculpture at the Cary Arts Center, Cary, North Carolina, 2012.
I heard a story about doing this kind of sculpture, about somebody who built a piece right on the spot. I thought, “Oh, my god, I have to think about how to do that.”
Jacques Kaufmann, working on Tectonique, exhibited in Dunkerque Contemporary Art Museum, France, 1996.
For me it was a way to get back to society, not with art, not with small, delicate, beautiful objects, not with function for domestic function, but to go back to the city with ceramic material that contributes to a better way of life in the city.
I don’t think I’ve left functional pots. I think I want to see what the edges of functional pots are about. I know what the center’s about, but knowing what the edge is about is an ongoing experiment.
John Stephenson in front of his studio kiln room door, 1988. Photograph by Dirk Bakker.
At any time, there might have been a structure suspended from the ceiling, clay clinging to metal, a complex axial rotation looking like swirling water or an auger still wet with unearthed mud.
I had always judged my visits to restaurants by the quality of the food and the conversation, but Leah, Patrick, and the student potters helped to open my senses.
The method outlined above introduces into the practice of wood-firing an element of rationality long customary in the firing of other types of kilns. It makes little sense to say to trainees, “Just chuck it in and hope for the best.”
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What interested me was the change in reactions to similar forms of the guerrilla art in different cultural contexts.
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Eco-plaza mosaic detail at Perkins Art Center-Collingswood.
When we can connect our ideas to current and relevant societal issues, mobilize people, develop strong partnerships, and raise money to support these projects, we have the potential to bring about change.
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Steve Harrison with his work, photographed by Richard Cannon, 2015.
Steve Harrison's 2015 exhibition in London, "Cup Board," highlighted his deep knowledge of design and function, as well as his intense, personal connection to pottery traditions.