Vivika and Otto Heino collaborated from 1950 until 1995, the year of Vivika’s death. Their work is distinguished by its clean lines and distinctive glazes. Despite getting under way during the Depression, the Heinos supported themselves as potters throughout their careers. Their world was guided by a strong work ethic and a love of clay. Unfazed by ceramic trends, they remained true to their sense of what pottery should be—traditional and utilitarian.
Otto and Vivika were part of a generation that sought to redefine the art of ceramics in relation to modern art and culture. The “potters,” as the Heinos and their contemporaries were proud to be called, were influenced by the Arts & Crafts movement, Germany’s Bauhaus, and the potters of Japan.
Otto and Vivika’s work is collected world-wide and has been exhibited internationally at the Picasso Museum in Vallauris, France; San Francisco’s De Young Museum; Los Angeles’ County Art Museum and Craft Folk Art Museum; New York’ American Craft Museum; Washington D.C.’s Smithsonian’ and Boston’s Museum of Fine Arts. Twentieth Century Fox commissioned them to create 751 pieces of pottery for the film, “The Egyptian.”
“Forms are classical yet contemporary defined by crisp elegant lines and flowing shapes; inspired by ancient Greek pottery and Japanese as well as the art and architecture of South East Asia. The Highland landscape is a constant, ever changing influence in my work, drawing inspiration from the light, space and reflective qualities this vast landscape offers.
Contrast is an important aspect to my work the interplay between control and unpredictability, traditional and contemporary, solid but with a feeling of lightness. Despite these contrasting qualities I always aspire to create something that is both beautiful and complete. I enjoy the interplay of more organic and fortuitous surfaces applied to these controlled forms which create a distinct finish to the work. Work that combines ceramic and bronze materials provide an innovative exploration of the two mediums I am most passionate about. I am beginning to explore the experience of how a thrown form can then be adapted to become a piece of sculpture in its own right.” Daniel Kavanagh
Nagae Shigekazu (born in 1953), is one of the leading pioneers of porcelain casting and firing techniques in Japan. Casting is commonly associated with the mass production of porcelain, yet Nagae valiantly transcends this stereotype, ultimately elevating this technique to the avant-garde. Casting alone cannot achieve the natural movements found within Nagae’s forms. In fact, the intensity of his gas-kiln fires help mould, shape and curve his delicate white porcelain, thereby giving birth to sleek and razor-thin silhouettes that have become Nagae trademarks.
His popularity and recognition as an artist have skyrocketed, with acquisitions by the V&A in London, the Los Angeles County Museum of Art, and the National Gallery of Australia in just the past 3 years. Also collected by leading institutions such as the Musée National de Ceramique-Sèvres in Paris and the Musée Ariana in Geneva, among others, as well as receiving prestigious awards such as the Grand Prixs at the 1998 Triennale de la Porcelain in Nyon, the Mino Ceramic Festival and the Japan Ceramic Art Exhibition (both 1997), Nagae Shigekazu’s stature and respect in the world of porcelain has reached new heights.
“I make sculpture that is born from the potters wheel. Many sections are thrown and built to create a constructed beauty, rhythm, and symmetry in abstract form. I am interested in the travel and progression of layered three dimensional pattern, and how this can create different qualities depending on the workings of three essential factors: - The construction: Simplicity to complexity. Circular or fragmented. - The rhythm pattern: Different rhythms produced through the construction and the placement of parts. - The viewing position and depth in form: Horizontal, vertical or angular. Inside space or enclosed rhythm.” Matthew Chambers
“My work is really about form and surface. The pieces are non-functional and have to ‘justify their existence’ by imparting a ‘presence’ - does it have life; does it sing? Elusive qualities but worth striving for when everything comes together.” Tim Andrews
The pieces are usually thrown, although recent pieces are handbuilt. Bisque-firing is in a conventional gas kiln to 1060 degrees Celcius. Many pieces have a ‘resist’ slip and glaze applied and are then fired in a ‘top hat’ glass-fibre kiln to around 1000 degrees Celcius, before removal when red-hot to a smoking chamber. When cold the resist glaze is chipped off and the pot cleaned up and waxed.
“Lying somewhere between contemporary ceramics and sculpture, my work presents a hybrid of both disciplines.
Currently, the work centres on obscure, hidden and uncontrolled spaces that arise through the ceramic making process. I construct using fine hand-building techniques such as pinching and coiling to form thin walls. By making in this way, interesting spaces present themselves, whilst also highlighting the dialogue between the interior and exterior. Lattice-work (alternating bands of supports and rows) enables me to construct delicate structures that are at once open and closed. Often, I use motifs to denote meaning.
Materially, I use a variety of different clays such as porcelain, terracotta and stoneware clays. In particular, I enjoy using porcelain, which I exploit for its delicacy and translucence. Sometimes I introduce a variety of mixed media such as wax. Works range in scale from the intimate to large scale.
I strive towards the qualities of anonymous art. Paring back to pure, multi-referencing and ambiguous elements, I draw influence from concentrated forms such as menhirs, circles and lozenges. Abstract, yet familiar, these are objects that appeal to the archaic content of the mind where the viewer might approach some form of recognition.” Claire Muckian
Adam is a story teller, sometimes intuitively, always spontaneously, and this reveals itself in his work. The white porcelain is a perfect ground for the inky cobalt drawings which decorate his pots. Some imagery is restrained to the simplicity of a single line and other images depict busy narratives. Simple sprigs reminiscent of wax seals from a bygone era embellish some of the surfaces.
“It is important that there is a flow in my work and if I loose that flow, I loose the energy. My work is an ongoing journey”. Adam Frew
‘The nature of Adam’s ceramic pots allows the owner to continually revisit their purchase, gaining pleasure from seeing new and wonderful things in its quirky decoration.’ Kim Mawhinney, Head of Art. Ulster Museum
“I am interested in the mutual relations between form and function of an object. It is connected with my belief in an exceptional aesthetic value of every-day items. Functionality comes for me as a starting point for analysing an aesthetic form.
I aspire to make art understandable, if not on the level of rational or intelectual analysis, then at least on the level of feelings, senses or aesthetic pleasure.” Maciej Kasperski
Maciej Kasperski was born in 1969. In 1996 graduated from Ceramics and Glass Department of Academy of Fine Arts in Wrocław. At present, he is a tutor at the Ceramics Faculty of AFA in Wrocław.
“In my work, I explore images of extinction, death and transformation. I am fascinated with the natural processes of decay and destruction—particularly when in conflict with human systems. Nature is referenced, not by depicting the virile stag, but by illustrating its inevitable decay. Valuing macabre sensibilities, I create sculptures that cross over the slippery edge of life into what might lie beyond.
An investigation of the unconscious mind and our inextricable link to the animal world may reveal certain truths about the human condition. “Lyuba Twins” is a purposely-ambiguous sculpture—the animals, although realistically rendered, are non-specific in species (are they deer, sheep, baby buffaloes)? They are also defined as neither alive or dead. The viewer is invited to interpret the sculpture in a similar way that a ‘subject’ is asked to interpret an inkblot from the legendary Rorschach Technique. As the interpretation of the inkblot theoretically reveals a description of the subconscious mind of the subject, the viewers’ interpretation of this piece may also provide insight.
Occasionally, I use imagery from horror films and the moment of transformation—particularly, when a human becomes a beast. This transgressive imagery creates tension in the work, especially when produced from the medium of clay—with its strong historical ties to comfort and beauty. Rooted in traditions of pantheism and superstition, the horror movie depicts a dark side of human nature. Mutated creatures, such as the ravenous werewolf, are created in the murky depths of our collective subconscious. These images ride the boundaries between animal and human, instinct and reason, the conscious and the subconscious.
In a more humorous tone, recent pieces such as “Hoof Heels” also evoke our inextricable link to the animal world. The heels are inspired by both contemporary fashion trends (Designer AF Vandevorst) and ancient folklore (Pan). They imply that the fashion-conscious viewer can easily embody the primal, animal self.
This investigation reveals the honesty of humanity. Embracing all aspects of ourselves, taking a closer look at the “shadow side” of the human condition is my attempt to discover truth. This truth stems from acknowledging our imperfections and recognizing humanness (and dignity). Comprised of evocative, poignant layers of meaning, I invite the viewer to contemplate what it means to be human, to connect with a deeper side of oneself.” Roxanne Jackson
Keith Schneider is a ceramic artist and Art Professor who lives and works in Arcata, on the northern California coast. He received his MFA degree from the University of California at Santa Barbara in 1985, and has been teaching ceramics and drawing at Humboldt State University since 1988. Keith’s ceramic figures are exhibited throughout the United States, and he has won numerous awards, including first place in Feats of Clay 2003, a prestigious international ceramics competition. His work has been featured in a variety of publications, including Ceramics Monthly magazine, and his work was also featured in 2010 at SOFA exhibition (Sculpture Objects and Functional Art) in Chicago.
"I am most interested in things that “wear” their history: objects, or fragments of them, that possess a particular quality from being well-used. In my ceramic work, inspired by things I have scavenged, I often invent my own “found” objects and materials. I try to create in them a sense of age comparable to actual objects I have collected. The life story that each object could tell remains a mystery, but the hint of its past adds another layer of richness to my pieces." Keith Schneider
Celeste Bouvier is a ceramic artist from South Florida. She has worked with clay for nearly ten years, earning her local and regional attention. She specializes in ceramic sculpture as well as abstract teapot forms.
She recently earned a BA in Art Therapy from Lesley University in Cambridge, MA while simultaneously completing extensive studio work at the Art Institute of Boston in Boston, MA. Her work has been displayed at various venues in both South Florida and Massachusetts.
Born and raised in Connecticut, USA, Tim Scull has actively pursued the ceramic arts for the last 20 years. In 2000, he opened Canton Clay Works, one of New England’s premier ceramic facilities. Since then, he offers classes for all ages in throwing on the potters wheel, as well as sculpture and handbuilding. His primary interest is in alternative firings which include wood/vapor firing, primitive - raku, saggar, pit - and crystalline.
Tim’s personal body of work concentrates on ceramic forms fired in a variety of alternative and primitive firing techniques who’s origins emerge from tribes and cultures throughout mans history.
"After graduating with a BFA from the University of Connecticut, I began a career in graphic design. After a few years of working in my field, I realized that my need to create could not be fulfilled by sitting in front of a computer. A friend suggested that I take a pottery class and after a little convincing, I agreed.
It didn’t take long for me to realize that working with clay was what had been missing from my creative life. I started having dreams about throwing and not long after beginning that class, I left the graphic design world and a steady paycheck behind in order to devote all of my time and attention to ceramics. Initially, that meant washing the studio floor at Creative Arts Workshop in exchange for extra studio time. The following year, I moved to Brooklyn where I worked for and alongside several well established potters and ceramic artists. In May 2004, I set up my own studio and began designing and producing a body of work.
In keeping with my love of throwing, all of my pieces still begin on the wheel. My formal art training, the human body, nature and modern industrial design and architecture all have an impact on my work. These influences have served as important references in my experimentation of the altering and reconstruction of traditional forms. Form is the most important aspect of my pieces which I augment by manipulating fluid lines and curves to enhance the beauty and function of each piece.” Kim Westad