“The core inspiration of this body of work is a celebration and dedication to the immense beauty and fragility of the natural world.
My sculptures are explored from a feminine viewpoint and inspired by my relationship and fascination with nature, the land, water, and the environment.
Current inspirations stem from places that captivate and hold an emotional and visual pull, from certain areas of coast, reef, field, and wood. To the uninhibited growth of corals, lichens, mosses and fungi. The eroticism of unfurling flowers. The awakening of seeds confident of their purpose. The wild places under log piles housing micro worlds.
I’m exploring the rare, the everyday, the endangered, the ordinary and the spectacular.
My work is made from porcelain paperclay and terracotta paperclay. One of the many qualities of clay that I embrace is its capacity to hold movement and energy. By Working with a paper clay of my own mix these qualities continue to resonate once the work becomes ceramic thus enabling me to create my desired delicate, organic, fronded forms. I employ different methodologies of making depending on the requirements of the individual piece. Most of my work is hand built but I also work with paper-thin sheets of clay and some press moulding techniques.” Jasmin Rowlandson
“When working with bone china for the first time I was struck by its pure whiteness, ability to take on fine detail and its astonishing translucence. This light responsive property, that enables bone china to switch between translucent and opaque states - gradually or instantaneously - as light changes around it, continues to be a major source of fascination.
Providing a subconscious inspiration for many pieces is my interest in the patterns, textures, shapes and forms found in nature - often and in particular, the ‘tiny worlds’ seen under a microscope or through a macro lens. In addition to these themes, I continue to develop a small strand of works that focus on ‘iconic’ objects from my own childhood.
Bone china has many testing characteristics for a maker - an in-flexible ‘body’ prone to crumbling when worked, an inability to be wheel-thrown and a propensity to collapse or bend when firing. Add to these a very keen ‘clay memory’, a trait that causes repaired splits and stresses to reappear again once fired and you inevitably face high loss rates in production. For this reason most ceramicists avoid using bone china. However, through time I have come to understand the nature of the clay and I now relish the constant challenges it presents. Still, a tension exists between the clay’s constraints and my intent as an artist to counter or exploit them in order to reveal its inherent beauty and demonstrate its perhaps unexpected versatility.
To capitalize on the allure of bone china I adopt ‘high-risk’ techniques - often unconventional, certainly against traditional good practice - which push the clay to its very limits. Intuition allied with experience is relied on to make a successful piece. New technologies like water-jet cutting brought together with long-established ceramic processes make possible the creation of works significantly greater in height and volume whilst crucially keeping the ceramic thin enough to retain delicacy and translucence. I routinely combine traditional and modern approaches whilst attempting to push back the boundaries and to redefine the perception of bone china as something more than simply the sole preserve of fine tableware.” Chris Wight
Wim Borst became a professional ceramist at a rather advanced age. At the age of 31 he exhibited for the first time. As a self taught artist he took lessons in ceramics from Ru de Boer and Emmy van Deventer a.o.
His oeuvre and career are characterized by a great accuracy and a persistent mentality. His ceramics has its roots in the Dutch geometrical abstract tradition, although he uses the idiom in a non-academic, refreshing way. Within the boundaries of the self chosen restrictions of the geometric abstraction, he takes liberties with colors, materials and themes. His objects are (generally) made up of different parts.
Wim Borst is exhibiting regularly in the Netherlands and abroad. He is a member of the NVK (the Dutch Society of Ceramic artists) and of ‘de Vishal’, (a local society of artists in Haarlem, his native town). He is part of a group of Dutch ceramists, CeramiCVision.nl who regularly join to discuss their profession; they are looking for opportunities to attract the attention of the public for their works and they are organizing exhibitions as a group.
His work is in private collections and in museum collections in the Netherlands and abroad, such as Museum Boijmans Van Beuningen in Rotterdam, Boston Museum of Fine Arts in Boston USA, Frans Halsmuseum in Haarlem, Museum Keramion in Frechen Germany, ‘Magnelli Museum’, the Ceramics Museum of Vallauris, France, Museum Het Princessehof in Leeuwarden, and Stedelijk Museum Schiedam.
"The scale of the space has pushed all the artists to think big, both physically and conceptually. The exhibition, technically demonstrates the inventive use of such an ancient material, while raising contemporary issues. The works in the exhibition challenge traditional notions of “objectness”, providing a depth of content, and creating a diverse dialogue." Katie Caron
Location: Anschutz Gallery, Level Two, Hamilton Building / Denver Art Museum
“My work is about surprising myself and the audience, using white porcelain and black earthenware clay, fired at high temperature. The black earthenware expands, thus creating a volcanic landscape. It is not just a natural landscape, because it is directed by me. I have created the cuttings from the beginning, but still the aspect of surprise is always present, because what happens in the kiln is unpredictable.” Rafael Pérez
The distinguishing characteristic of Perez`s work is its apparently matter-of fact use of ceramic materials and methods to dispel rather than reinforce the sense of ceramics as a discipline. Clay is undeniably the central, material component of his work, but it is utilized in such a way as to make problematic the distinction between ceramics and painting, sculpture or even performance. Perez orients his activity within the boundaries of physics and his transgression of the traditional.
“I divide my time between teaching and working in my studio. I am a teacher and I’ve emphasised on texile and history in my profession. I believe my current works are inspired by and reflect my educational backdrop. My objects often carry a historical and ethnical connotation.
My inspirations are gathered from all over; my environment, the newspapers, books, fashion and the people around me. My students too are a source of inspiration because of their joyful and ingenuous worldview.
As a ceramist I have specialised in casted forms and the recycling of glass. I especially use old bottles, for which I create a new context and give a new usage. The glides is a design serie I’ve been developing the last few years. I gather their basic structure from gutter- and drainpipes. The serie consists of cups, small containers, candleholders and wall/table vases in various forms and sizes.” Guðný Hafsteinsdóttir
“Guðný Hafsteinsdóttir is a ceramic artist whose medium is not limited to clay. As her works show, her background is first and foremost Icelandic, but in addition to her studies at the Icelandic School of Art and Craft, Guðný has also studied and experienced ceramics in Denmark, Finland and Hungary.
Iceland has a great story-telling tradition and the works of Icelandic artists are often characterised by story-telling features. This also applies to Guðný’s work. Motifs of ancient traditional beliefs are reborn in her beautifully formed freedom stones. Such stones were traditionally used to help women during childbirth. Poems sometimes accompany her works, which make them more personal and add a level of sincerity. Heads of characters from the Viking era appear from glass bottles that have been given a new costume, and in similar works, Guðný flies the flag for Icelandic women. Contemporary recycling gets a new role through Guðný’s works.
But the feeling is far from one where the weight of history rests on the works. On the contrary, her newest works are characterised by lightness and gaiety. Guðný often looks to form in everyday life for inspiration for her craft works. So for example, roof gutters and raindrops are the inspiration for her newest line in cups, trays and breadboards. Here one can find both the form of raindrops and the colour of blue skies. Guðný’s work is characterised by imagination, variety, an awareness of the past and a sensitive perception of the present. Together, these qualities create colourful and thought-provoking art.” Ragna Sigurðardóttir
Although her work has been devoted to drawing, she first encountered the medium of ceramic in 2007. Ceramic has ever since given the artist an opportunity to explore new possibilities of representation. It has provided a means to re-examine and reassess the artist’s ongoing concerns on the role and nature of the work of art as an artefact.
Cathy Coëz’s three-dimensional ’Clay drawings’ and ’Porcelain drawings’ explore the compositional element of aesthetic and the nature of the ceramic medium. These drawings are organized geometrically (a circle, a disk or a square), and are made out of hundreds of pieces carefully arranged. The clay and porcelain material is tirelessly thrown on a ceramic wheel to form hundreds of unique pieces that are created to form a species of its kind. The substance of the clay, together with the inexhaustible possibility of forms and shapes it offers, has fascinated the artist ever since she started to explore the medium in 2007.
The creative process of these museums-sized pieces are initially conceived through a computer Vector Drawing Program, then each piece is methodically arranged and placed next to each other with painstaking precision. The end result is a response to an ongoing research into the nature of minimalist aesthetic and the sophisticated character of macrocosm and microcosm blend.
“In my previous silkscreen drawings, I used to work with a vast selection of colours. With my ceramic work, I am interested in the monochromatic and minimalist approach to colour, tones and shades. I focus instead on the individuality and uniqueness of each piece. For me, throwing clay is like drawing a shape. I start the process by establishing a form, then gradually organise its volume, rearrange its proportions and finalise its character. The shapes and forms I create seem to organically emerge from between my fingers.” Cathy Coëz
Cathy Coëz is a French Multi-disciplinary artist. She lives and works in Brussels, Belgium. Her artwork has been internationally exhibited in galleries and museums and is part of public and private collections.
“I work with abstract sculptural form. I am interested in the idea of one continuous surface, with one connected edge or line running through the whole form. Clear, clean shapes; soft smooth curves in contrast to sharp edges; concave and convex surfaces; the discovery and strength of an inner/negative space - these are all form expressions that appeal to me and results in my continuous exploration and expression in many different variations.
My sculptures are either asymmetrical or with a repetition of form:
- Asymmetrical where I mainly work with the idea of continuous surface. The form has only one side and one edge connected throughout the shape. - Repetition of form with three symmetrical parts that are connected; three being both a strong number and a balanced repetition of form. The negative space - the shape of the space in between, is equally important.
My work is hand built in coiling technique. Stoneware is my chosen material for its qualities - I like to challenge the material and my own skills by building complicated shapes; fragile in the building, drying and firing process which upon firing attain the strength to be handled and positioned without support.
I often get an idea for a new form while working on another. I also find my inspiration in form I see in nature as well as architecture and design; clean curves, sparse decoration, simplicity. To emphasize the form I use a matt surface and monochrome colours.
I was born in Denmark but grew up in Sweden. I returned to Denmark to study at Design School Kolding in 2000, and moved to London in 2005 after graduating. I have since then predominately worked with sculptural forms.” Merete Rasmussen
“I have a strong interest in natural forms, cultural artifacts and personal mementos. I am drawn to ornament, embellishment, pattern, and texture. For the last ten years the vessel forms in my ceramic work have slowly been evolving into botanically inspired hybrid sculptural forms. In working on these pieces I have become more involved with the details, the close ups, the abstract, the peering into. My interest in detail, layers and encrustations has been heightened by repeated travels to India and China. I am fascinated by the complexity, diversity, beauty and danger of the natural world and this leads to thoughts about growth, nourishment, attraction, and sexuality. Built into these hybrids are some of the artifacts and mementos that form my DNA.” Carol Gouthro
“The flowers of the woodlands and gardens of my upstate New York home are the subjects of my work. The intricate beauty in nature compels me to employ a complex process to translate this to the surface of my pots. I choose to use porcelain because it is the most pure of clays and when left unglazed and polished , an enticingly smooth rich surface is revealed. I began carving my porcelain forms during graduate studies at Skidmore College with Leslie Ferst and Regis Brodie. I continued my exploration of floral forms and structures by pursuing postgraduate study in botanical illustration at The New York Botanical Gardens. I create the bas-relief botanical images by carving into the leather hard wheel thrown porcelain pot. It is a process that can take more than one hundred hours. Each piece is hand polished after the first firing, the bisque, and again after the final high temperature firing to achieve the smooth marble like sheen.
My pots are my response to the natural world and my wish for its preservation. I strive to record the resiliency of nature in the bas-relief botanical images. I attempt also to capture the delicacy and fragility of the blossoms that will ironically be outlived by my pots
As objects of contemplation, it is my hope that my pots will celebrate the beauty and strength of nature and encourage its preservation.” JoAnn Axford
In addition to teaching at both the college and community arts levels, JoAnn has exhibited extensively in juried exhibits throughout the United States, including The Strictly Functional Pottery National, Crafts National, and San Angelo National Ceramic Competition. She was recognized as an Emerging Artist by Ceramics Monthly magazine in 2006. Her work has been published In Clay Times Magazine, Surface Design for Ceramics by Maureen Mills, Lark Books, and 500 Raku by Lark Books.
“In my artistic work I am often interested in contrasts and combinations. It could be things like dream and reality, aim and result ore repetition and breaks. I frequently return to the everyday as a subject were I am fascinated by routines as well as the wish to get away from them.
I want to tell stories through clay and ceramic references and I´m aiming for an equivocal state in my works where I like to both embrace and criticize, answer and wonder in the same object.
As a ceramic artist, I mostly work with sculptures/objects where I want to combine visualized thoughts and ideas with the ceramic material and references i use. My works are often parts of longer thinking-paths and there are connections between different projects even if they don’t need a relation to each other.” David Carlsson
Born 1977, David Carlsson graduated from HDK, School of Design and Crafts, Göteborg.
“After many years spent in writing, painting and etching , using reams of paper, I ended up working with porcelain. Although I like making “normal” cups and plates, tiles with fishes, birds and fountains, I like to experiment constantly and than, somehow, I find myself using the material like paper or trying to make it look like paper; printed on, incised and folded. I am fascinated by the fragility but also the strength of this ceramic material and, perhaps due to the history of my journey through the world of art, I love to transfer the qualities of paper to this material to resemble paper, crumpled. covered with writing and folded, exploiting its transparency, its different surface qualities, its capacity to catch and preserve colors on the inside as well as on the outside , underneath and over its glossy, satin or mat skin. I stretch it, paint it, fold it, going to the limits of its strength, fragility and transparency. And it often leaves me in desperation because of its fragility. It leaves me breathless with the feeling of happiness to see its fragile intensity.
For years I worked as an artist in the BKR, the Dutch Government Work agreement for artists before going abroad with my husband and three boys. At the same time I studied biology and philosophy at the University of Wageningen in the Netherlands and followed etching courses in Amsterdam, bronze casting (lost wax) in Wageningen [with Ben Joosten] drawing from models at the Art Academy Minerva in Groningen.
My work (ceramics, etchings, paintings, art books, photographs) is displayed in various public places in Netherland, Spain, Chile, Korea, Australia, Portugal and Italy. I published poetry, short stories and translations on the literary review “Hollands Maandblad“ Poetry was published by Cadans as ‘Carthago in het Middaglicht’.
I currently live and work near Milan (Italy).” Margrieta Jeltema
David Roberts is one of the most significant ceramic artists working in Europe today. A distinguished English potter, he has an international reputation as a leading practitioner in Raku ceramics: a technique with its origin in small-scale vessels made for the Tea Ceremony in late sixteenth-century Japan. Roberts is acknowledged as responsible for the introduction and promotion of modern, large scale Raku in Europe. He has also been instrumental in its re-introduction to the United States of America, where his example has played a key role in the foundation of the ‘Naked Raku’ movement. In his personal exploration of this traditional technique, Roberts has transformed it into a vibrant and contemporary art form.
David Roberts is one of the first British ceramists to specialise in high quality contemporary Raku, the making of which he has helped popularise, as a serious discipline within contemporary British ceramics in the many exhibitions, workshops and demonstrations he has held throughout the UK, Europe and the USA. His work investigates the clay bodies interaction with smoke-marking and deep carbonisation. The resulting vessels are strongly evocative of David’s increasing engagement with the natural world and the contours and stratification of stone and landscape.
David Roberts lives and works in the Yorkshire Pennine mill town of Holmfirth.
“I strive to be unique, my work will divide opinion. It should be the main feature, the talking point. It is strong and masculine, certain pieces animal like. It touches on subjects like sexual deviancy, containment, aggression, with hints of religious symbolism, making distasteful subjects into attractive physical forms.
At this stage of my ceramics career, I am striving to push boundaries all the time in terms of creativity, form and finish. I suspect I always will. I am working largely with black clay which allows me the luxury of leaving parts of the work raw from time to time. I am also particularly interested in exploring how certain materials, such as metal and ceramics work together.” Patrick Colhoun
“I have worked with the theme of the vessel for some time now, developing it as an object beyond normal usage. My idea of a vessel is not simply as a working piece of apparatus but as an object which expresses raw energy and power. It is not an academic exercise in imitating the historical past. I am interested in the ceramic ‘architecture’ of an object, and in my work a sense of engineering the form is crucial. When I am in the studio I think of the object in simple terms; its surface, colour, scale and the promise of something elegant and beautiful at the finish. There is also an underlying sense of the erotic…” Abigail Simpson
Abigail Simpson was born in London and originally trained as an actor before going on to study ceramics. Her work has been exhibited extensively in Britain. Simpson’s latest enterprise is an installation of 15 vessels currently being shown at Ralph Pucci International showroom in Manhattan. Simpson’s large ceramic vessels and ‘Bobble pots’, which have become her trade mark, are painstakingly constructed by hand from stoneware clay using giant coils. The pieces are then fired in her purpose built kiln to 1280 degrees centigrade.
Each piece is unique and has a character of its own. The only constant is the extraordinary scale - the vessels are can be up to 7 feet in height. Her aim is to break free from the limitations and expectations of ‘pottery’, drawing her inspiration primarily from architecture, art and fashion. Her vessels can be described as both voluptuous and glamorous and her training as an actress might be deduced from the sheer theatricality of these large vessels. Abigail Simpson’s work has been featured in most of the major interior and fashion magazines as well as being catalogued by Christies in two ‘Contemporary and Post-War British Art’ auctions. Buyers include Annie Lennox and Donna Karan.
“I work process-oriented with the examination of form, which in its presence appears in organic shapes and in rhythmic lines in motion. The starting point was the idea of a flower as a radiant energy and elegance both remarkable and luxuriant, a testament to the existence of everyday miracles. The creation of an aesthetic, sensuous, material object has always been the essence of my work, but the objects have since 2002 become more abstract. At the moment I am asking myself: Is it possible by combining or colliding senses to reach a more complex form? That is my ambition.
All my works are hand-built. To achieve a sense of elegance and fragility the shapes are made thin in comparison to their size. Furthermore I have put a lot of effort into achieving a harmonic surface and a defined access of lines to intensify the character of each object.
The surfaces maintain a texture which reflects the depth and sensuous presence of forms found in nature. Together these accentuate the overall tactile quality of the works.” Signe Schjøth
Born in Copenhagen in 1974, Signe Schjøth was trained at the Ceramic School of Bornholm (1999 – 2002) and since then she has been selected for several international exhibitions.
Katharine Morling is a ceramic artist best known for her life-size black and white sculptures full of quirky, graphic details of domestic objects such as tables, chairs, ladders and lockers. Although she calls herself a ‘3D person’, drawing is very important to Katharine because her sculptures are sketches of furniture items which plays with the viewer’s preconceptions about material and functionality. She crates animated scenes with an unusually dynamic appearance for the medium of ceramics.
The objects can be described as 3 Dimensional drawings, but at first the true nature of the material is not clear: paper or fabric? However, it is clearly ceramic. The eye then re-adjusts within the context of the memories which the material holds. The tactile experience grounds the viewer with the materials solid, cold, hard and fragile reality.
The pieces work together in a tableau staging still lives of everyday objects: table and chairs, tools and cases. Stories start to unravel in the viewer mind: the box that is locked the keys in an open draw. Toys in a case resonate with nostalgia and fantasy. A ladder propped agents a wall suggests that these toys could spring to life and lead an independent existence. A slightly surreal experience is crates when one walks amongst this strange life-sizes tableau.
The monochrome works are mainly porcelain or crank covered in a porcelain slip, before firing a black slip is painted on outlining the works with some details such as a handle or lock painted in.
“In each stage of the processes of my creating, new ideas and concepts seem to reveal themselves, bringing a new life to my work. Working devoutly in clay, I continue to be challenged and seduced by the medium. The manipulation of the material is what excites me, whether I am working big or small, loosely or precisely.
Interior and exterior spaces are primary oppositions that I use in my work both formally and conceptually. Using animal forms as a subjects for my process and vehicles for my content, I am able to address these spaces literally and metaphorically. The animal form allows me to juxtapose other distinct opposites such as life and death, positive and negative. I feel that through this synthesis I am presenting questions and concerns which are not necessarily answered in the work.
Recently, I am interested in creating forms or sculptures through the use of multiples. The multiples I am using are specifically segments of animals made with both hand-built and mold made forms. By fragmenting and stacking them, I am trying to obscure the initial subject and capture the evidence of a space and motion. I work and build both intuitively and analytically in an attempt to contrast these formal characteristics and to push my concepts.” Dryden Wells
Dryden Wells, originally from St. Louis, Missouri, first completed a BFA in Ceramics and a BSED (K-12) at Missouri State University in Springfield, MO. In the Fall of 2005, Wells moved to Lubbock, Texas, to pursue an MFA degree in Ceramics at Texas Tech University, which he completed Spring of 2008. Wells, having previously been a resident artist at the Pottery Workshop: An Experimental Sculpture Factory in Jingdezhen, China, during the summers of 2006 and 2007, has recently been hired as the Design Studio Manager of The Pottery Workshop to assist in the maintenance and development of the Design Studio as well as to continue the development of his own work.
“I believe that the greatest undertaking of the artist is that of professional maintenance. As a matter of fact, along with spontaneous creativity, you indissolubly must add an elevated professional competence regarding technique; through reading and observation, the joy of experimentation, of combining, and of moving forward.
My design is born from a rereading of past artistic production through a filter of formal personal sensibility directed towards the making of a functional or sculptural object. The forms generated are aesthetically accurate and display a strong sense of the real feminine character, of grace, of elegance and of attention to detail. Thus, “Crespines”, objects originally of Faentinian tradition that were used in the grand European courts of the 16th and 17th centuries, have been remade in porcelain paper clay for a new collection which began in 2005. It was challenging and exciting to create forms derivative of the past, but reconsidered with completely new techniques and philosophies.
These pieces have been formed using an incredibly thin decorative weft that ultimately creates their supporting structure: it’s an art of addition, not of subtraction, as was commonly done in the original renaissance crespines, where the perforations were created by piercing and cutting out shapes from the existing closed forms. The procedure anticipates the moulding with a freehand syringe on concave or convex refractory supports and requires a high temperature firing. Sometimes the forms are then mounted on hand-blown glass bases, which have been designed and commissioned in Tuscany. The round shape is prevalent in my work, which can often be found in Italian Renaissance architecture.
They present themselves in this way, like ample goblets in ceramic filigree, a type of interwoven lace of overlapping spirals in precious porcelain “thread”, an effect absolutely unobtainable without the help of paperclay. Objects of light and vulnerability, which live in illumination and shadow, in tactility, in supreme whiteness and imperceptible vibrations.” Antonella Cimatti
Antonella Cimatti was born in Faenza in 1956. One of Carlo Zauli’s pupils at the Istituto d’Arte (State School of Ceramics) in Faenza, she went on to obtain a degree with distinction from the Accademia di Belle Arti (Fine Arts Academy) in Bologna. She has been teaching Design at the Istituto d’Arte (State School of Ceramics) in Faenza since 1979.
“My goal is to create works of art that resonate with honesty and reflect the beauty and chaos of the world. My art is influenced by human artifacts from ancient times to the present, as well as by my personal experiences and emotions. Like the varied objects I draw on for inspiration—from 1940s knitting catalogs and outsider art, to Native American cedar carvings and Degas’ sculptures of dancers—my artworks force an explanation of reality and compel viewers to connect to a larger human experience. I work in various media, including drawing, collage, and sculpture.
Currently I am focusing on ceramic sculpture based on expressive images of the figure I find in a variety of source materials. There are so many figures out there in the world, wearing so many poses and costumes; I find those that resonate and interpret them in clay. Each sculpture expresses an intense inner psychological state, its surface effecting a fluctuating quality, part beautiful, part grotesque.
I grew up in Portland, Oregon and continue to live and work here.” Cynthia Lahti
Carole Epp is a Canadian ceramic artist and writer, who received her Masters Degree in Ceramics from the Australian National University. Her ceramics branch off into two distinct bodies of work wherein she produces lines of sculptural and functional objects. Her sculptural based work incorporates the production of collectible figurines whose traditional genre is subverted by revealing a more truthful representation of behaviour and morality in contemporary society. An analysis of consumer culture is unveiled and dialogue is presented regarding the personal relationship one has with global events and politics. The functional domestic wares investigate contemporary industrial design aesthetics and their sustainability through handmade qualities, including what has traditionally been deemed glaze-faults, in combination with the clean and calculated look of mass-produced wares.
Her work has been exhibited in Canada, Scotland, Australia and the United States. Her artwork and writing has also been published in the past few years in magazine publications, websites and books. She is editor of Musing About Mud an online blog which showcases information, calls for entry, exhibitions and artist profiles related to the ceramic arts.