I do not intend my voice to be the voice of all women. In this significant time of convergence between ceramics and fine art, we have the opportunity to contribute a more critical voice to our culture, which demands that we are represented by people from a wider range of perspectives. We must make space for critical writing from less represented viewpoints. We need to make space for more stories.
Perhaps it is years of conscious determination that create an air of inherent intuition. The first installment of a new Studio Potter series.
Collaborative and open sharing is an upside to all we are currently experience. Shades of World War II efforts come to mind: rations, women working in factories, and victory gardens, among other things. Imagine the days to come when we are past the pandemic. What will we have learned about ourselves as people, as a nation, and as a world?
Four artists use their artistic research to challenge the homogenized art narrative that has privileged those in power.
The world is facing a crisis. I don’t know what the situation will be when this gets published, but somehow the issues I raise might get lost in the shuffle. There is a reason bottom-line thinking is so highly regarded: it solves problems.
At a very early age, I was orphaned and placed into the closed adoption industry. In 2018, I was able to secure my true identity. My studio practice has been the key to building a bridge to my past while constructing a future with the family I thought I had lost forever. For all those non-believers out there, it turns out that art does have the power to change lives. It certainly did mine.
Being on a platform; as, kind of, the token transgender individual in the clay community takes its toll. When I lectured at NCECA in 2017 on the panel "Gendered Clay," I had no idea what would happen. I could only tell my own story. I thought it was worth sacrificing my anonymity.
"I have been a student of the possibilities of the materials ... So many variables, so many decisions to make, and so many opportunities to make them. You learn failure is a part of success. Just like not every play will work as drawn out on paper, not every pot will make it through the process as desired, but each time you learn something that feeds into the next attempt. You are playing the law of averages. If you keep at it, something will start to work out."
Mulberry Bridge with Diana Kersey, 2011. Photo Credit: Seale Photography.
Last month, in Part I, we left studio potter Diana Kersey, having just broken into the practice of public art. This month, while sharing her background from star athlete to ceramist, we explore further her approach to design, content, and community engagement as she completes her first major public art commission.
Signs and accessories in Jason Hartsoe in his Penland studio, January 2020. Photo Credit: Madalyn Wofford.
"Just when it seems the incline and hairpin turns won’t end, deep forest opens up to a passenger-side view of Horner Hall, the recently renovated home to the Penland gallery and visitors center." Join Sarah Kelly in conversation with Penland Resident Jason Hartsoe; captured last fall. A grateful recollection of deliberate advancement toward a goal.
A dinner set for poet Mary Ruefle’s April 2020 reading at UMass Amherst has as a centerpiece a plate set inspired by her short prose piece “Old Immortality.”
This past fall, I needed to learn how to make plates. Specifically, plates similar in form and decoration to those from Staffordshire, England, in the early 1800s.
Robert Harrison, Potter Shrine. Helena, Montana. Photo Credit: Robert Harrison.
I believe that most of us are responsible for what we do, and make objects of worth that will be valued by future generations. Such objects will remind our grandchildren that the ceramists of the early twenty-first century were caring, careful, and future-thinking artists wishing to sustain the environment and lifestyle in a manner that is answerable and accountable for the future. – Janet Mansfield, 2012
Hannah Walters, “Inkwell,” 15.75″x12″x6″, porcelain and crank clay with tin glaze
Modest in appearance, simple in its curation, but big in intention; this gallery is a gem. Long may it, and shows like Tanio/Ignite, continue.
Janet Koplos What Makes a Potter
Jack Troy reviews Janet Koplos's new text, What Makes a Potter: Functional Pottery in America Today, featuring fifty interviews with contemporary potters.
Greetings from the new Studio Potter Editor, "Let's not be reductive. Let's be expansive. If we make a list, let's do it to parse out the options rather than create an oppressive hierarchy. We can all benefit from the beautiful mosaic of potential within the ceramic medium. This is what Studio Potter has always done." Send your story proposals to editor@studiopotter.org
Eri Dewa Forest Porcelain Sculpture at Lacoste Keane Gallery
Lucy Lacoste generously shared the following catalog essay with Studio Potter, drawing our attention to the next generation of Japanese women in ceramics. The exhibition was inspired by two important past exhibitions; Soaring Voices (2009 – 2012) which traveled to 10 locations in the USA, and Touch Fire (2009) at Smith College, Northampton MA.
Porcelain Extension Lighting Collection by Nick Moen and the Bright Angle
Nick Moen is discovering and designing bridges between materials, craft and design, and communities at The Bright Angle in Asheville, North Carolina.
A three-part series on the ceramist as public artist. "Completing private and public commissions, in addition to creating, decorating, and firing thousands of vessels during my career as an artist/potter, is not unlike how I learned the game of basketball: through practice, study, failure, disappointment, victory, and determination. This artistic path, in addition to my recently completed public art projects, has allowed me to master my ceramic process and has prepared me to take on a project of any scale." – Diana Kersey, 2015
You may have noticed that I had not even breezed through the studio before committing myself to Craigardan, but it was love at first sight, as I mentioned, and the place proved to be like the creek that flows through the property – lush, crisp, and fully flowing in the summer and, from what I hear, cold, covered, and clear in the winter.
For Ruberto, the aesthetic of her work is a sensorial experience that coincides with the sound and feeling one acquires during a quaint moment of twilight, an atmospheric stillness when one reawakens into a new part of the day. Illustrated on much of Ruberto’s work is a vegetative element that can be attributed to the subtle essence of fog.
I never intended to collect ceramics and nothing that I was given or purchased was viewed as an investment.
The assortment of mugs and cups grows each time I travel, attend a clay conference, enjoy a studio tour, or visit a gallery. My collection is not comprehensive, but rather a personal grouping of unique vessels that instill wonder and appreciation for creativity and design.
Many of the challenges we are facing are not that different than those our mentors dealt with in academia. The next generation is becoming responsible for continued reshaping of the field, as they strive to uphold the standards and beliefs of our predecessors, while also trying to adapt to an ever-changing culture.
We decided our first trip to the UK would be to St. Ives and Leach Pottery. This started our love affair with British studio ceramics
If Bernard’s Leach’s A Potter’s Book was the old testament for many aspiring studio potters internationally, Daniel Rhodes’ Clay and Glazes for the Potter was the new testament for those living in North America.
Pottery often has a relationship to its environment, from the wild clay potters of North Carolina to regional aesthetics like the ubiquitous Minnesota brown pot. Like most people these days, potters are also concerned with climate change.
The illusion is that with plastic 3-D printers and how you have this tool, it can potentially fabricate anything in the world that you could possibly imagine.
When students rush into the classroom in the morning, beaming with excitement about a new technique they saw on Instagram, something good is happening. They are hooked on ceramics and fully engaged in the process.
Brightly colored columns stand throughout the industrial site of Mission Clay Building Products on the outskirts of Phoenix, Arizona. Their presence, amidst outdoor horizontal stacks of terra cotta pipe, signals that artists are at work on eight-footextruded clay pillars.
It was maybe 10 years ago that I was talking with a book editor who asked what I was working on. I told him, but then said, impulsively, that what I wanted to do most was a book on functional pottery.
Jay Lacouture, foreground, and Harriet Brisson, background, in 1976.
Since her passing, I have continually pondered, “What would my life be like if I had not met Harriet Brisson?” What follows are some of the personal memories that come flooding back when I think about my Role Mother.
Illustration by Zoe Pappenheimer for Studio Potter journal, 2018.
It has been my pleasure to serve as the Editor of Studio Potter journal for the last five years. ... My parting request, dear readers, is that you get more people to read this journal.
Ahrong Kim. “Kimcheese,” 2017. Porcelain, stoneware, luster, stone. 7.5 x 8 x 19 in.
People read a visual artwork through many different things: a title, prominent color or patterns, etc., but they react quickly to something that’s more familiar to them.
Watkins in June 1962, location unknown.
Watkins's accomplished career, spanning four decades, included achievements in the academic, studio, curatorial, and scholarly realms. It’s a wonder that someone with this breadth of experience and success has received only modest attention in the ceramics and crafts fields.
Ray Brown. Low Pitcher, 2018. Soda-fired stoneware, flashing slip, black underglaze, glaze. 2019 NJSE Merit Award. Photo by SP.
There is satisfaction in developing the best iterations of a form, creating an aesthetic harmony among them, and making decisions that fulfill my desires for their function as utilitarian objects.
Harriet Harriet Brisson. Clouds, 1990. Stoneware clay, reduction fired to Cone 10, 7x7x7 in.
Others will praise and remember Harriet for her teaching or her studio work, but the extraordinary person she was loomed largest, for me, in her role on the Studio Potter board.
Harriet Brisson Cube Striped in Half, 1989. Raku; 6 in. sq. 46th Concorso Internazionale, della Ceramica D'Arte, Faenza, Italy. From Brisson's 50NOW retrospective exhibition catalog.
Harriet had a mathematical mind, richly reinforced by her artwork and the life she created with her husband and fellow artist, David Brisson. Her modular ceramic creations, with components that fit together effortlessly, are evidence of her keen logic.
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Timea Tihanyi mentoring student intern Wanna Huang at Slip Rabbit Studio, Seattle, Washington, 2019. Photo by Mark Stone, University of Washington.
We don’t know if and how objects will matter in the distant technological future. This poses interesting dilemmas for ceramics: How do we hold on and innovate at the same time? How do we imagine a new future of tactility with clay?
The Heinos in front of their salt kiln, Ojai, California, 1992. Photograph by Bill Dow.
Equally celebrated in New Hampshire and California, Vivika and Otto Heino's ceramics are part of a continuum that stretches back into history, and continue to inspire those who follow along the path of clay.
The Lugos - Roberto, Ashley, Theodore, and Otto, 2019. Photo courtesy of the author.
I come from a large family: fifty-seven first cousins, and each of them have children of their own. Early on, I knew that I wanted to be a father—apart from my knack for the ill-advised pun.
Santiago Isaza working in his home studio. January, 2019. Photo by author.
On a research trip to Medellín, Colombia, I met a thirty-five-year-old anthropologist and ceramist who enlightened me to the role of indigenous ceramics in contemporary culture.