Ceramic artists list
> Ceramic artists list 100. Tim Rowan 99. Graciela Olio 98. Michal Fargo 97. Ryan Blackwell 96. Ellen Schön 95. Francesco Ardini 94. David Gallagher 93. Elizabeth Shriver 92. Jason Hackett 91. Patricia Sannit 90. Bente Skjøttgaard 89. Steve Belz 88. Ruth Power 87. Jenni Ward 86. Liliana Folta 85. Kira O'Brien 84. Annie Woodford 83. Kwok-Pong Bobby Tso 82. Bogdan Teodorescu 81. Kimberly Cook 80. Paula Bellacera 79. Debra Fleury 78. Cindy Billingsley 77. David Gilbaugh 76. Teresa & Helena Jané 75. Marianne McGrath 74. Suzanne Stumpf 73. Deborah Britt 72. Kathy Pallie 71. Els Wenselaers 70. Kjersti Lunde 69. Brian Kakas 68. Marie T. Hermann 67. Mark Goudy 66. Susan Meyer 65. Simcha Even-Chen 64. Barbara Fehrs 63. Shamai Gibsh 62. Natalia Dias 61. Bethany Krull 60. Amanda Simmons 59. Arthur Gonzalez 58. Chris Riccardo 57. Akiko Hirai W 56. Johannes Nagel 55. Rika Herbst 54. Liza Riddle 53. Chang Hyun Bang 52. Virginie Besengez 51. Jasmin Rowlandson 50. Chris Wight 49. Wim Borst 48. Rafael Peréz 47. Guðný Hafsteinsdóttir 46. Cathy Coëz 45. Merete Rasmussen 44. Carol Gouthro 43. JoAnn Axford 42. David Carlsson 41. Margrieta Jeltema 40. David Roberts 39. Patrick Colhoun 38. Abigail Simpson 37. Signe Schjøth 36. Katharine Morling 35. Dryden Wells 34. Antonella Cimatti 33. Cynthia Lahti 32. Carole Epp 31. Blaine Avery 30. Ian Shelly 29. Jim Kraft 28. Wesley Anderegg 27. Connie Norman 26. Arlene Shechet 25. Young Mi Kim 24. Jason Walker 23. Peter Meanley 22. Shane Porter 21. Jennifer McCurdy 20. Yoichiro Kamei 19. Debbie Quick 18. Ian F Thomas 17. John Shirley 16. Grayson Perry 15. Vivika & Otto Heino 14. Georges Jeanclos 13. Daniel Kavanagh 12. Nagae Shigekazu 11. Matthew Chambers 10. Tim Andrews 9. Claire Muckian 8. Adam Frew 7. Maciej Kasperski 6. Roxanne Jackson 5. Keith Schneider 4. Celeste Bouvier 3. Tim Scull 2. Kim Westad 1. Sara Paloma

Interview with Steve Belz - Artist of the month, April 2012

ARTIST OF THE MONTH, April 2012: Steve Belz

/ Read the full interview in Ceramics Now - Issue Two

Ceramics Now Magazine
: You are strengthening your career as a ceramic artist year by year. What was your first contact with ceramics and when did you realize you have a passion for it?

I took a ceramics class in my junior year in college, and that changed my world instantly. I was constantly in the studio. I had worked with wood and metal prior to clay, but it was amazing to find one material that possesses the qualities of many materials. Throughout its various stages, clay is plastic at first, then flexible and strong like wood, then hard like steel. This is over simplified, but basically I love the metamorphic qualities of clay. It is an incredible material that twenty years later, I am still very passionate about.


Steve Belz Contemporary Ceramics
Assisted Nucleation, 2011, Low fire ceramic, washes, glaze, rubber cord and steel fastener, 20H x 30W x 10D inches - View his works

What is the most difficult part in constructing a new piece? Tell us about your creative process, from sketches to the final display.

I usually work on multiple pieces at one time, so that they feed off of each other as a series. My work is often an amalgamation of forms and details from mostly natural objects and landscapes. I have a lot of natural objects and photographs around my studio. I use these details as a starting point for the forms and surfaces that I create, often manipulating the scale or color of the details that I am interested in. 

I often start by sketching in a notebook to quickly work through ideas, then I move to a large chalkboard for some full scale sketching. My sketches are often covered in words that inform the themes I am working on. Once I can visualize the form I want to create I move on to construction, my favorite part.

The most difficult part of constructing my larger work is managing the appropriate humidity. I allow certain areas to dry enough so that they have strength to support the form, while other areas are wet enough so that I can continue adding more clay. All of this happens while maintaining a smooth gradation of humidity between those areas to avoid cracks. I spend several weeks working on one piece, often jumping between other pieces while I wait for one to dry enough.

I rarely build my work in the position that it will rest. This does two things. It makes it easier to move the piece around to work on it and it keeps the orientation of the object open until the end of the building process. I can have most of the form completed and then cut and dart areas to modify the form. Once the main form is completed I smooth and refine the surface. This step is very meditative for me. It has a rhythm and fluidity that I enjoy.

I do get a little bit stressed when I go to load the kiln. The more time I put into something, the higher the level of stress I feel. I fire most of my work multiple times in the low fire range (1800-2000 F / 980-1100 C). The first glaze firing is the highest with each successive firing happens at lower temperatures until I get my desired surface. Once I am done with the glaze firings, I start incorporating the manufactured elements.

You have been working with all sorts of techniques and have experienced different themes and subjects, but above all, you are also teaching college level courses. How do you find the right balance between practice and teaching?

I love sharing my knowledge and experience with people. Seeing the students’ excitement and being a part of their progression as artists is very satisfying. Teaching has defined parameters and time to work with the students. When I am not teaching I am in my studio every day and available to the students. I enjoy being in the studio so much that my more difficult balancing act is between studio time and personal time with outdoor recreation. Not giving my self enough time to play and recharge has been difficult during graduate school.

Steve Belz Contemporary Ceramics, environmental sculptures
Pulse, 2011, Ceramic, glaze, bronze and powder coating, 9H x 14W x 10D inches - View his works

You are approaching a very contemporary subject in today’s world - the natural environment. Have you been determined by a particular experience to choose this topic? How important is the conceptual component for your work?

I have always had great admiration for the natural world. I have a long history of backpacking on the coastline and in the mountains of the Western United States. My undergraduate degree is in environmental studies, which reflects my interest in the natural world. I eventually became interested in knowing where my food comes from. Through this investigation I became aware of the dramatic changes that have taken place in the food production systems in America over the last 20 years. Organisms are being modified in ways that would not be possible without the intervention of scientists. Here in the U.S.A. genetically modified food is not labeled. I feel it is important for people to know what they are eating.

It is important to me that my work sustains a balance between beauty and concept. I hope that my art will encourage viewers to educate themselves about the food production system. However, I have little control over what each person will pick up from my work conceptually. If they are pleased with the form and find it visually interesting then I can feel satisfied. Ultimately, I would like the viewer to be affected by my work and compelled to ask questions and about their relationship with the environment, thereby becoming increasingly proactive in assuring a sustainable future.


What are you working on next and where can we find your works in the near future?

Steve Belz - G.E.M. Genetics X Environment X Management, 2011, Low fire ceramic, washes, glazes, slips and resinMy most recent work incorporates a larger percentage of metal with ceramic materials and examines genetic modification. I am currently working on a series that investigates people’s perception of the storage, use and consumption of energy sources. This work will be in my thesis exhibition.
You can find one of my sculptures at the National Student Juried Exhibition in Seattle Washington as part of the National Council on Education for the Ceramic Arts Conference from March 6th - 31st 2012. Additionally, my Master of Fine Arts thesis solo exhibition will be at the William T. Kemper Gallery in Manhattan Kansas U.S.A. from April 16th - 27th 2012.


Interview by Alexandra Mureşan and Vasi Hîrdo - alexandra@ceramicsnow.org

/ Read the full interview in Ceramics Now - Issue Two

Steve Belz’s profile on Ceramics Now Magazine - View his works

Visit Steve Belz’s website.

© The interview is subject to copyright and belongs to Ceramics Now and Steve Belz. Cannot be used without permission and original link.

All work is copyright of respective owner, otherwise © 2014 Ceramics Now. Website powered by Tumblr.