“10 Years of art and skill. From the idea to action and from this to the final product is a long and arduous journey for four hands.
We create and produce contemporary pieces with message.
Devoutly, seriously, exclusively, dangerously, carefully and - why not say it? - perfectly. Pieces that tell universal or personal stories, sad or happy ones, with horror by the easy effect, the déjà vu or the vain brightness.
Common denominator is almost always the ceramic and the pursuit of happy marriage between tradition and innovation.
Playing with fire is a tough one …
Those who closely follow this trip: Continue with us!
To those who have just arrived: Welcome!” THJané
“10 Years of art and skill. From the idea to action and from this to the final product is a long and arduous journey for four hands.
“My work is a contemplation on material, process, and object metaphors that juxtaposes the medium of clay with industrial materials to create installations that speak of landscapes lost. Inspired by the landscape of my agrarian childhood home now covered by suburban sprawl, I strive for these works to be spaces and scenarios the viewer can physically or psychologically enter and inhabit, that calls one to pause and witness the result of my consideration of the changing landscapes that surround us.
The resulting works are entities that are symbiotic yet impossible, balancing what can be seen now, and was seen before. These works speak of the human idea and need of home, and the necessary yet chaotic change that rural and suburban landscapes constantly undergo. They are meant to leave viewers questioning, perhaps considering the role they play in the landscapes that surround them.” Marianne McGrath
“One of my interests is in making multi-component, interactive sculptures. Most of these works have innumerable permutations for viewing. Perhaps partially influenced from my background as a professional musician, these flexible sculptures allow for creating variations in the artwork such as might be experienced in the live performance of a musical composition from concert to concert. Some of the works may appear to be “games,” but generally there are no rules for arranging the components.
I work primarily in porcelain because this claybody receives and juxtaposes textures so articulately. Glazes are employed minimally; some works make use only of slips, underglazes, and oxide washes. My building combines altered wheelthrown as well pure handbuilding techniques.” Suzanne Stumpf
“My work mainly consists of salt-fired Porcelain and Stoneware. The salt-firing process is unique in that salt is introduced into the kiln when it reaches the proper temperature (2345 degrees F for my work). Inside the kiln, the salt vaporizes and settles onto the pieces, forming its own glaze over the clay body. I also use various slips and glazes to further decorate the pots.
In my functional work, my goal is to make the pieces “special”. I hope that everyday users will appreciate being “in the moment” as they sip from their hand-made cup or enjoy soup from their favorite bowl.
My sculptural pieces all have specific meaning for me, but sometimes are just fun! I don’t wish to impose my views of the work upon others, but would rather viewers lend their own interpretation to the pieces within their own contexts and ideas. Most importantly, I hope the sculptures will inspire viewers to pause and consider how the piece relates to their lives.” Deborah Britt
"As a commercial artist designing products for retail store windows and interior displays, trade show booths and special events, I worked with many different materials to create three-dimensional objects. When I retired and started working with clay, I realized that clay was an exciting and wonderfully tactile material which I had to explore in depth.
I’m intrigued with the concept that the artist’s hand can manipulate clay into a work of art which expresses an emotion, tells a story, can be functional or is purely visually appealing. At times, the clay seems to have a life of its own as it leads me, morphing from one form and concept to another. On other occasions, I can envision the completed piece before even touching the clay.
Inspired by Nature, my work reflects the unlimited variety of textures, patterns, and energy I find in my natural surroundings. Texture and the tactile sense have always been an important part of my work. I hand build with clay slabs, coils, and extruded shapes and use various clay bodies, firing processes, glazes and cold finishes for making different forms and surface textures.
I enjoy creating artworks which not only express my love of Nature, but which also allow me to bring the essence of the outdoors into interior spaces.” Kathy Pallie
“I am currently using ceramics and mixed media. My work is characterized by a reflection of contemporary society with a subtle humor and a tendency to idealize. I make works that stand alone, as well as installations.
The ceramic figures of ‘Sisyphus Work’ are condemned to an inevitable and senseless action. The titles that I use are referring to an existentialism in which an absurd figure plays the main role, extending far beyond the limits of vanity. They perform actions, although they realize that life is without meaning, but they stubbornly refuse to take the escape routes of death or faith. Spraying grass green, air exchange systems which are much too small to have any effect, machines that suck volatile odors, trying with mental control to move a vehicle. Again, and again, and again. Acceptance of the fundamental emptiness is the only thing that’s left.
The “Human Hybrids” installation is about the possible consequences of genome manipulation and malleable man. Genetic engineering, also called genetic modification, is the direct human manipulation of an organism’s genome using modern DNA technology. In examining the effect of specific genes, scientists have already made a fish that glows under UV light, pork with spinach genes, goats which produce spider’s web and there is also a Genmouse with super muscles that is protected against obesity.” Els Wenselaers
“Every day we are surrounded by objects of different character. Objects we either know from before or new things we’ve never seen. Created by nature or shaped by human hands. We distinguish between the known and unknown, and make new discoveries. What is known from before we often find in our home environment and community, and the more unknown objects we find when traveling or in new surroundings. I approach the objects in the exposition with different artistic strategies, and a transformation process that examines functional, sculptural and cultural issues.
In the selection of an object to work with, I look for what exudes a certain history and experience. By my hand, the objects are then transformed into new stories, and re-created objects. The original objects emerge as raw materials, in which their parts are recreated into wholes, with a desire to capture the time between past and present. The intention is to add something new and different to an object’s inherent character. Together these objects link together as small elements in a storytelling collection, and reveal a hidden story.” Kjersti Lunde
Appropriate means of creatively adapting to continual changes have been expressed though practices of art, architecture, science and technology. In this new body of ceramic works, entitled “Tectonic Perceptions”, the intentions are incorporating methodologies and theories from the mentioned practices to create a “new nature” in structural design for ceramic objects. The pieces seek to celebrate the versatility of clay with an aim of fostering new realizations of architectural space. Travels throughout Asia and an array of rich cultural experiences in China have brought about new realizations within the artist’s mind and perceptions of cultural identity, history and space.
These relationships have allowed the artist to explore relationships between the strong elements of tradition and modern identities rapidly evolving around the world. Explorations of these interrelationships and the intentions of the maker and his material have led to the new structural ceramic designs. Through his aspired process of invention, it is the artist’s intent to find a natural form by staying true to chosen materials and their inherent properties. The artist is in pursuit of finding and establishing a formal vocabulary that allows sculptural vessels to exhibit qualities of both unique and handcrafted objects of traditional cultures with that of machine made and mass-produced objects of our contemporary society.
Brian Kakas is an Assistant Professor of Ceramics at Northern Michigan University. He received his MFA in ceramics from The University of Notre Dame in 2007.
“Looking around Marie Torbensdatter Hermann’s most recent exhibition of work, we may well have a similar feeling: that we are in the presence of pots that don’t quite need us. They are just fine on their own, thank you. Poised atop their handmade clay shelves, microcosms like the implacably calm still life paintings of Morandi, or set out in a neat ring on the gallery floor, these ceramic sculptures have a quiet assurance, an ease that belies the difficulty of their own making.
You almost have to remind yourself that it’s by no means easy to create this sense of completeness. The usual way of doing it is to make objects that are resolutely alien to everyday experience: the abstract geometries of De Stijl, the weird and hermetic object-poems of the Surrealists, the industrial quality of Minimalist sculpture, or the unearthly light and space created by artist James Turrell. While Hermann’s work is influenced by all of these art historical references, she appeals to something more humble and humane than any of them.
While her commitment to achieving a unified aesthetic impression is total, it seems to me that her greatest interest as an artist comes at the level of the detail. Yes, she knows she must (according to some modernist logic) ‘earn’ the right to create an interesting shape, like a sharp break in the profile of a vase, or a gentle curve in the rim of a plate. For her, these subtle touches have to make sense within an overriding context. There is nothing whimsical about them. But all the same, Hermann infuses these little maneuvers with a great deal of enjoyment – just as the slight sway of a violin or the mournful swell of an oboe might convey the emotion that a composer feels for his own symphony. Hermann’s pots may inhabit worlds of their own, and to that extent they stand proudly and resolutely apart. But through the deft and playful touches that are everywhere in this exhibition, we are let into something very human indeed: something not too far from bliss.” Glenn Adamson, Head of Graduate Studies at the Victoria and Albert Museum, London, about Marie T. Hermann’s work.
"The process of working in clay is a grounding experience that focuses my attention in the present moment, but also is a tangible thread that connects across time with twenty thousand years of ceramists who preceded me.
My work is an exploration in shape and pattern, using the enclosed vessel as the underlying form. These vessels are constructed from asymmetric curved surfaces that project a unique contour with each viewing angle. The interior space is intentionally hidden, leaving the contents to the imagination, metaphorically containing perhaps hopes, dreams, or spirits. These rounded shapes are meant to be held and, when set on a flat surface, gently rock before coming to rest at their own natural balance point.
My approach is to combine ancient methods of stone-burnishing and earthenware firing with computer-aided shape design to produce talismans that fuse traditional and modern aesthetics. Surface markings are created by painting water-soluble metal salts on bisque-fired clay. These watercolors permeate the clay body, and become a permanent part of the surface when fired. I have a strong affinity for intricate abstract patterns, ones that can’t be fully comprehended with a single glance, an invitation to in-depth exploration.
These ceramic forms echo the geometries of nature: waterworn stones, shells, seedpods, expansive desert landscapes, the Milky Way on a moonless night.” Mark Goudy
“I make sculptures that are inspired by utopian, experimental communities. The pieces suggest architectural models for utopian experiments. My curiosity stems from the ways in which these communities reflect optimism and, the ways in which they simultaneously reflect failure. Modernist ties to the utopic and Modernist architecture also come into play; recent sculptures in layered acrylic are examples of this interest.
Currently, I am also working on hexagonal structures made of concrete covered cardboard. These pieces are influenced by Brutalist architecture, Corbusier’s machines for living and, most strongly, by Robert Smithson’s slide lecture (1972) on Hotel Palenque to the architectural faculty at the University of Utah.
I’ve been visiting the sites of a number of utopian communities (Drop City (CO), Libre (CO), New Buffalo (NM), the Oneida Community (NY), Fruitlands (MA)…) and I’ve videotaped what remains there. Compiling this video footage and adding off-hand, stop-action animated figurative elements is a related current project. I envision clusters of these various works – the sparkling city, the concrete ruins and the small screen video – creating an environment both visually rich and suggestive of societal energy and entropy.” Susan Meyer
→ Susan Meyer is a special featured artist on Ceramics Now Magazine.
In my recent works I use ceramic sculptures to investigate the elements of ambiguity and dynamic of opposites. Ambiguity is express by the contrast between appearance and reality. Looking at the precise shapes that enclose and contain space gives the impression of solid and massive bodies when they are in fact, surprisingly light and delicate.
The dynamic of opposite is express in a way that juxtaposes the precise and controlled building and graphic design of the ceramic work the unpredictable firing technique of “Naked Raku”.
In these works I’m dealing with issues such as tensions between polarities, with fragmentation and constructions and with illusions. These concepts are guidelines for my treatment of space in the context of surface-volume relationships. The division of the body surface between white and black, as well as the use of lines softens the shape, simultaneously placing the grid or lines on the edge of the shape, so that they follow the shape, completely dissolve the hard lines. Viewing from different angles, surface and volume are blurred, giving an illusion of flatness.
This idea is strengthened and extended by working with pairs or creating a composition of a few units, where new volumes and planes are achieved by way of the lines or grid are virtually joined; the ratio of parts to the whole is changing and two and three dimensions are played against each other in a sophisticated manner.