Posted by Cindy Bracker, Communications Director
Check out 10 more of the 50 plates for sale to benefit NCECA’s 50th Anniversary, selected by Simon Levin and generously donated by 50 artists who believe in NCECA’s mission. Although several of these plates have already been sold and are enjoying their new homes, you still have an opportunity to own a beautiful piece of artwork while simultaneously benefiting NCECA. Click on any plate image for details.
Alleghany Meadows is a studio potter in Carbondale, Colorado. He received his BA from Pitzer College, Claremont, CA, and his MFA from the New York State College of Ceramics at Alfred University. Alleghany studied with Takashi Nakazato, Karatsu, Japan, received a Watson Foundation Fellowship for field study of potters in Nepal, and was an artist-in-residence at Anderson Ranch Arts Center. He has presented lectures, workshops and been a visiting artist at art centers and universities nationally and internationally, including Penland, Alfred, Southern Methodist University, Anderson Ranch, Archie Bray Foundation, Arrowmont, Haystack and Good Hope, Jamaica. He exhibits nationally and is the founder of Artstream Nomadic Gallery, co-founder of Harvey/Meadows Gallery, Aspen, Colorado, and co-founder of Studio for Arts and Works (SAW), Carbondale, Colorado. He serves on the board of Haystack Mountain School of Crafts. His work was recently acquired by the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston, and the Huntington Museum of Art, WV, where he was honored with the Walter Gropius Master Award.
My investigation is a search for beauty. It is an active search for emotion, feeling, content and form in objects for the home. My work is intimately connected through size, form and surface to the human body, to culinary rituals, to history and to our culture. I wish to make work which inspires creative decisions in actions such as preparing a soup or arranging a moment for tea.
I am fascinated by ways which my work can effect time and experience. Perception of the world is an evolving process directly linked to experience. We experience the world through our senses. Memory and my understanding of memory are connected to the sensuous experiences I have with material objects. A new teapot becomes familiar as I learn its subtleties, the pace and rhythm with which it pours, its weight and balance when full. Each experience of having tea engages my senses. Through time and use, the teapot acquires a patina of memory which reflects back these experiences.
Repetition and rhythm in my studio process are similar to autumn leaves on the forest floor, tracks of a bird in wet sand, ice crystals on a frozen stream — such patterns, although composed of repetitive elements, continually change without exactly repeating themselves.
Growing up in Japan, I remember tradition being part of daily life. Temples and shrines were everywhere, even inside our home. I was drawn to these sacred spaces and ceremonial objects because they were decorated with texture and pattern contrasted by areas of calm and stillness.
These memories inspire my current work. I make boxes, intimate bowls, and small plates for precious objects, vases for flower arranging and a variety of serving pieces. Many of the forms allude to function and would serve food well, but are more comfortable being placed in sacred spaces of the home like the center of a formal dining room table, a hope chest, or a bedside stand.
The making begins with bisque molds, slab construction, and coil building to make thick, heavy forms. I carve, shave, and sand excess clay away to slowly reveal the final shape. Puff handles and other elements are added for physical decoration. White slip is brushed over the red earthenware to create depth and motion. Then I carve back through the slip exposing the red clay. Shiny translucent glazes are applied over the decorated areas and opaque matte glazes over the calm areas.
Ornamentation is important to my ideas. I have created motifs called vine patterns to lead your eye around the work. Patterns run continuously to create narrow borders or to fill large amounts of space. They can flow into tight curves just as easily as they can bend around the belly of a form. The patterns create visual movement representing water, wind, and clouds.
I create characters based on human relations and things I have experienced. To me it is much easier to draw owls than humans. I don’t want to tell specific stories to people, I want people to create their own. Sometimes you feel like the weight of a turtle standing on top of you and sometimes you feel like an owl standing on top of the world. Some of my characters have a dark nature. I think that is life. Sometimes dark things happen. Overall, I want my work to have a sense of hope and a sense of humor because life goes on.
Brian R. Jones grew up in Syracuse, NY and is now an artist living and working in Portland, OR. He shows work nationally and has been a resident artist at Watershed Center for Ceramic Arts and The Clay Studio in Philadelphia, PA. In 2001 he graduated with a BFA from Alfred University. He earned an MFA degree from Southern Methodist University in Dallas, TX in 2007. Jones was a presenter at the Utilitarian Clay Conference VI: Celebrate the Object at Arrowmont School of Arts and Crafts in September 2012. In March 2013 he was awarded the Emerging Artist award at the National Council on the Education in the Ceramic Arts (NCECA) conference in Houston, TX. His work can be seen at www.brianrjones.com
My current work lies in my interest in the investigation of the transformative character of memories. A remembrance of a time, place, or day serves as the point of departure for contemplation of form, color, and tone. I begin all of my work with drawing (which I define as a visual approximation of an idea), and hold steady to it throughout the process. The nature of how the finished work reveals itself over time to an audience is the long echo of that initial reverie. I aspire to make work that is both a reservoir and an initiator of memories.
Matt Kelleher is a studio potter in the mountains of western North Carolina. In 2005, he made the decision to leave University teaching and pursue full-time studio work through a three-year residency at Penland School of Crafts. Matt has also been artist in residence at Archie Bray Foundation in Helena, MT (1999-2001) and Shigaraki Ceramic Cultural Park in Shigaraki, Japan (2003). While Matt continues to investigate soda-fired tableware, he has broadened his interests to include sculptural vessels, bird inspired forms, and collaborative work with Shoko Teruyama.
Pottery is a continuous curiosity; how it’s made, how it feels, its shape, its surface, how it exists in a home as an object, or a tool, or maybe an image. When making pottery, I search for poised forms that suggest sculpture, respect utility and perform well; they should be confident and handsome.
I create my surfaces for contemplation. Moods are suggested with warmth, fluidity, and translucency. Atmospheres are veiled with fog and cool mist. Pouring and layering slip, I respond intuitively to the qualities of liquid.
Slip warms up during the firing, the surface dampens and layering is revealed. The relationship between form, firing, and my hand is complete. Each piece is ready for a conversation and willing to be part of a greater surrounding.
Aware of the tendency to put parameters around my work, of what should and should not be made, I do my best to get out of the way. It is important for me to pursue the ideas that linger around my pottery, which are often sculptural and beyond the scale of tableware. The process each new idea reveals drives me forward.
Sunshine received her MFA Utah State University (2010) and her BA in from California State University, Sacramento (2006). In 2013, Sunshine was recognized as an Emerging Artist by NCECA and Ceramics Monthly. She is currently the Lilian Fellow at the Archie Bray Foundation in Helena, MT. When her residency ends later this year she will be heading back to California to set up shop.
I want my work in clay to represent growth and accomplishment, in which I believe reminiscence and nostalgia play a part. I rely on texture and color to create a sense of motion and time in my work. I hope to instill a sense of age, like one finds apparent in discarded objects, with the aim to infuse feelings of nostalgia and wanderlust in my ceramic objects. By exploring and creating vessels kept within arms reach, I hope to communicate how an object’s significance can grow and change depending on the path of a person’s life. And how the relationship between function and ornament shift throughout the course of a day/week/year. Through form and surface my goal is to communicate a sense of home and memory but also to evoke that feeling of wanderlust that has informed my own life and visual sensibilities.
After a full career in the health field, I discovered the joy of clay. I have been making pots for about 7 years. I enjoy making functional and decorative high-fired work, and have discovered that atmospheric firings (firings where heat is created by a flame that travels through the kiln) give me the look that pleases me the most. I like pots with a simple, natural form and surface – pots that retain evidence of their plastic clay origin, and whose surfaces record the path of the flame and the effects of prolonged heat. My pots are meant to be enjoyed in every day life; for a cup of tea, a meal, or to hold a bouquet of flowers for the table. My goal is to combine the output of head, hands, and heart to make the ordinary a little more special.
Erin Furimsky is a practicing studio artist in Normal, Illinois whose work focuses on the relationship of sculptural form with highly ornamented surfaces. She received a BFA from the Pennsylvania State University (1997) and an MFA from The Ohio State University (2002). Furimsky has exhibited her work nationally with inclusions of her work in international exhibitions in China and Taiwan. Since 1997 her work has been included in over ninety group and solo exhibitions, with reproductions of her ceramic work being featured in numerous books and catalogs. Critical reviews of Furimskys’ work have appeared on several occasions in the journals Ceramics Monthly and Ceramics Art and Perception. In 2006 Furimsky was nominated and subsequently selected as an emerging artist by the National Council on Education of the Ceramic Arts. She has been the recipient of numerous artist residencies, including the Archie Bray Foundation, The Red Lodge Clay Center, The Watershed Center for the Ceramic Arts and the Oregon College of Art and Design. She is featured in a DVD called Layered Surfaces with Erin Furimsky.
As an educator Furimsky has been a featured presenter at national workshops, as well as serving as a visiting professor at Illinois State University and Heartland Community College, both in Normal, IL.
The ceramic forms I build are meticulously constructed by hand. Taking advantage of the clay’s plasticity, I push and swell the walls to create volume that imparts sensuality and intrigue to the forms. Like brocade stretched to cover an overstuffed chair, my pieces reveal a sense of expansion as if one form is gently surrounding another. Each piece beckons to be held in the hands, and perhaps brought close to the face, to listen and examine with a greater intensity.
On the surface, a complex layering of pattern and color evolves as the clay is worked at each stage. Precise patterns carved deeply into the clay’s surface merge with the form, inviting the decoration to become structure. Areas are then covered with carefully chosen glazes that may run, both enhancing and obscuring the carving. One might recognize floral motifs, snowflakes, microbes or calligraphy within the ambiguous multilayered surfaces.
There is a push and pull in my work. I extract and reconstruct elements of functional domestic forms, at one time referencing, at another abstracting, their familiar roles within our culture. My investigation encompasses not only the aesthetic qualities of familiar objects, but also their symbolic functions within our lives. I investigate where these two realms overlap and what happens when the decorative aspect becomes the function. One person may perceive the delicate edge of a lace curtain as trivial and unnecessary, while another may experience it as an intimate reminder that they live in a refined and loving home.
A home cooked meal is still the essence of good, nourishing food for the body and soul. Society as a whole has forgotten that handmade pots can offer the same thing. The benefit of using handmade pots is that they contain the idea of human endeavor. For embedded within the handmade pot that we use every day resides the memory of our human evolution, an idea that transcends ethnic and racial, economic and class, cultural and national boundaries. The biggest success of hand made pots, unlike other art forms is that it is approachable and accessible. It is an art form that represents conversation between maker and user, and enters the home with the ability to affect and interact with the inhabitants on a daily basis.
My focus on utilitarian objects fills a desire to create useful objects for service in the home. My home growing up was strongly focused around the family. Family dinners were important and rarely missed growing up. My extended family gathered quite often for social events such as birthdays and holidays that always revolved around food. I would like to extend this sense of comfort and warmth through my work to others who use it.
Firing with wood also came with my upbringing. I was raised in a rural Maine home that was heated with a wood stove during the cold winter months. This meant that the fire was constantly being fed in order to heat the house. This required a lot of work and attentiveness to the fire. Preparing a winter’s worth of wood required many days of hauling, splitting, and stacking. This process was instilled in my life from an early age. I have always found the physical labor, the rhythm, and the sense of accomplishment that comes with this process, enjoyable.
The work I make is tailored for the process of wood firing. During the making, I leave the surfaces of the work quiet and relatively unmarked to allow the flame to create the modulated surface that I desire. My desired surface comes from looking at my rural environment. I am interested in worn river rocks, the erosion of land, the old weathered farmhouse, and the rich colors of leaves as they change in the fall. These are all records of time, change, and decay much like the surface of my work in the wood kiln. The pieces are marked by the flame, colored by the kiln atmosphere, christened by ash deposits, and freckled by erupting impurities. I am fascinated with the rich surface left by this process. No two pieces are exactly the same as the flames path records distinct marks on each piece. The wood fired surface is much like the way wind and water erode rock and earth. The flame moves through the kiln wrapping in and around the work, leaving a mark dependant on what is next to, touching, or above and below that particular piece. The path of the flame can be controlled when stacking the kiln. Great time and care is spent on each piece as it is loaded, as this will dictate the way the flame moves over and marks the surface of this piece.
S. C. Rolf lives and works as a studio potter in River Falls, WI, creating one-of-a-kind functional pots. His work reflects an ongoing search to unite his ideas with the generosity and the intimacy that the functional pot offers. “I continually play with shape and surface within parameters set by the intended purpose of the pot. These parameters open a world of exploration for me.”
S. C. Rolf holds an MFA from the New York State College of Ceramics at Alfred University, a BFA from the Kansas City Art Institute, and a BS in Broad Area Arts from the University of Wisconsin River Falls. He also apprenticed under Wang Hui Ming, a master painter and wood engraver.
S. C. Rolf exhibits his work throughout the United States and has received a number of national and international awards. He also lectures and teaches workshops throughout the country. His work resides in noted private and museum collections, as well as numerous kitchen cupboards.
As a potter, I make one of a kind functional objects that are meant to be used daily. The daily routine of life can be wearisome, but it is often filled with beauty that is passed over. I have made a study of making objects that fit ones hand and hopefully engage the users eye, head, and heart in the day-to-day experience of living. My work celebrates the daily eating and drinking and storing and pouring. Pots, like houses or other objects that contain volume are very interesting if one takes time with them. This is because the pot, as an everyday object, has the power to trigger thoughts and feelings which we have experienced, remind us of places we have been, things we have seen, heard and touched.
My work employs the physical process of layering which describes a sense of growth of the pot, both inward and outward. The addition and subtraction of the material leave a record of time in the work. Layering of wet clay over leather-hard clay is similar to the transformation of a landscape, such as an eroding riverbed. As a maker of one-of-a-kind functional objects, I use the premise that I transmit feeling through the subtle touch in working. I feel that in order for the user to “get it” they must also touch the work. My pots are not special occasion pots, but rather “workhorses”, and my hope is that my pots will be used frequently by those who bring them into their homes.
Ayumi Horie is a studio potter based in Portland, Maine, who has developed a distinctive online community utilizing social networks to support her studio practice. In 2011, she was named Ceramic Monthly’s first recipient of the “Ceramic Artist of the Year” award. Horie makes work in earthenware and porcelain that draw inspiration from folk traditions and comics in the U.S. and Japan.
In 2008, she organized Obamaware for Obama’s bid for presidency, the first online ceramic fundraiser of its kind. In March of 2011, she co-founded Handmade For Japan, which has raised over $100,000 through art for disaster relief and rebuilding for victims of the earthquake and tsunami in northern Japan.
She is a former board member of the Archie Bray and is now on the American Craft Council board and Access Ceramics curatorial board. Horie has taught many workshops on functional ceramics and the Internet across the U.S. and internationally. Her work is in many private collections including the Museum of Art and Design in New York.
The plate is the closest form of pottery I know of to a blank piece of paper; a place of beginning where every possibility exists and nothing is impossible. The letter A and it’s Japanese analog, あ, mark the start of their respective languages and are bound together with a straddling bird who has a foot in both worlds. The combination of the anticipation involved in the act of sitting before a plate, whether it’s piled with food or not, and having iconic imagery on a plate form reinforces the idea of beginning.