Nick Moen is a designer and studio artist with a background in ceramics. In 2016, Nick started The Bright Angle, a collaborative handmade design studio in Asheville North Carolina. Nick’s focus is on bridging the gap between design and craft by using technology to create tools to refine his studio practice.
BC: You are based in Asheville, North Carolina, but what you do is quite distinct from other pottery in the region. Could you talk about your background and how what The Bright Angle fits into this context of handmade pottery?
NM: I signed up for auto tech, my freshman year of high school, but it was full, so they stuck me in ceramics. I was bummed, because I wanted to work on cars and motorcycles and learn how to fix things. [laughs] So, I was enrolled in ceramics, and I came to learn that one of my favorite parts about the whole ceramics experience is the community. In this class, I got to hang out and mold malleable material into forms and sculptures; and hang out with my friends and talk. The people involved in the ceramic process, through my whole career, have been some of the most interesting and special people I’ve ever met. When I was fourteen I got to visit Warren MacKenzie at his home studio. I watched him transform a ball of clay into a beautiful vessel and I knew I wanted this lifestyle and to spend my life with clay.
[Despite this feeling I set out] to study engineering at Alfred, [but] when I transferred in, I quickly got disinterested with engineering. It wasn’t that it was boring; it just wasn’t incredibly stimulating. There weren’t a lot of dynamic options for getting to a single solution. IT seemed like there was always one logical answer. I just couldn’t find a way to create enough problems for myself. The heart of my creative practice has become problem solving. Therefore, switching into the ceramic design/material science program at Alfred and completing the program was beneficial in learning how to create problems for myself, which is a very easy thing to do with ceramics. It’s pretty masochistic. Those of us that choose ceramics all have the same problem; I suppose....