Abigail Simpson

Abigail Simpson's profile on Ceramics Now Magazine - View her works

“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.

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Signe Schjøth

Signe Schjøth's profile on Ceramics Now Magazine - View her works

“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.

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Katharine Morling

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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.

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Dryden Wells

Dryden Wells' profile on Ceramics Now Magazine - View his works

“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.

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Antonella Cimatti

Antonella Cimatti's profile on Ceramics Now Magazine - View her works

“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.

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Cynthia Lahti

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Read the interview with Cynthia Lahti, Recognized artist - April 2011

“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

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Carole Epp

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Read the interview with Carole Epp, Artist of the month - April 2011

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.

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Blaine Avery

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Blaine’s work has been exhibited nationally in several solo and group gallery exhibitions exhibitions, like the “Strictly Functional National” in Lancaster Pennsylvania, NC State Craft Center’s “From These Hands” in Raleigh, NC. His work can be seen in publications such as Ceramics Monthly and Lark Books’ 500 Bowls and Ceramics for Beginners: Surfaces, Glazes & Firing. Along with private and corporate collections, his work is included in the permanent collection of the Mint Museum, Charlotte, NC.

Blaine Avery has been a studio potter since 1991. He took a position apprenticing with Sid Oakley at Cedar Creek Gallery in Creedmoor, NC. After a year under Sid’s direction, Blaine stayed on at Cedar Creek, renting studio space as a resident artist, and selling his work through the gallery, along with other galleries throughout the southeast. 
In 2002, Blaine moved to Seagrove, NC to open his own retail gallery and studio, Avery Pottery & Tileworks. Today, Blaine sells his work primarily through his gallery, through select craft galleries and fine craft shows.

“Inspired by an amalgamation of ancient cultures, the gestural surface decorations on my work are applied with porcelain slip and under glazes at the green stage of the process. Layering the slip designs underneath the glaze creates a greater sense of depth that accentuates the contours of the forms. Pattern, rhythm, imagery and color are all used to complete the form, which is grounded in the bold and refined characteristics of traditional southern pottery.” Blaine Avery

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Ian Shelly

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“In my work, a tangible place exists where the fields of art making, weapons manufacturing and scientific research converge. This latest work is composed of these subjects existing in the same atmosphere, constantly crossing and colliding with one another as if part of the same charged electron cloud. This work as an endless equation of variables, values, formulae and solutions. Like the system and language of chemistry, these subjects are always around us and the characters, materials and scenarios of this equation and chain reaction are in constant motion.

In an effort to reflect on the early presence that these subjects have in our lives, this connectivity is expressed through a language specific to childhood and is punctuated with objects that reference my early education and play. The childish language in this work comments on two conclusions that stoke the fires of my work; the omnipresent nature of science in our daily lives and the similarity between objects used to discover and nurture and those used to destroy and capitalize.

I see this work as a mechanism to evaluate conflict as the direct result of two kinds of perennial human activities: misunderstanding – willful or otherwise – and the heroic yet flawed effort to understand through research and classification. The activities in my work show the nature of human relationships as seen through the lenses of our societies researchers and artists.” Ian Shelly

 

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Jim Kraft

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Read the interview with Jim Kraft, Ceramic technique - June-July 2011

“My work in clay has been a succession/evolution of ideas over a thirty year period. I take certain elements that “work” in one series and often build the next series based on those elements. That could include the color of the clay body, the colors of the surface treatment, the texture of the surface, the form or the building technique.

I enjoy working with the idea in mind of smaller parts making up the whole. Tiles covering a wall. Vessels made with coil and brick-like pieces, or cut and torn clay parts that make a vessel look basket-like. The vessel form appeals to me on a level that I don’t understand. It is a sort of mystery. When I am out in the world and see such a form I am immediately drawn to it. As much as I am concerned with surface texture it is ultimately the simple form of a vessel that appeals to my eye.

I would like to think my work, and the act of making the work, connects me with past cultures who used the same materials to make vessels for ceremony or everyday use. I like the idea of being a part of the long history of people making things with their hands.” Jim Kraft

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Wesley Anderegg

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“I have always been a people watcher. In the first grade I did not play with the other kids. I stood back and watched. And I have been watching ever since. I watch what people do and imagine what they might like to do.

Life and society are such that we cannot always say and do what we like. However, in the imaginary world in which my ceramic people live, they can.

At the dawn of mankind primitive peoples fashioned clay objects. They sculpted about what they knew and wanted. Pregnant women and animals were the hot topics of the day. I think of my work much the same way. Though the topics may be different I feel a link to those old people sitting around playing with this beautifully plastic material.” Wesley Anderegg

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Connie Norman

Connie Norman's profile on Ceramics Now Magazine - View her works

“All my life I have struggled with writing, now my work is completely covered in text. This paradigm shift has allowed me to experiment in different art forms, and face fears through the medium of art. An interesting adventure in self-discovery! The text in my pieces acts on several levels. For instance, it has texture, pattern, mystery and a path to look inward to decipher a glimpse into my private thoughts.
I am fascinated by the rhythmic qualities created by color, texture, and patterns. Decoration and the act of decorating are essential because it celebrates and enhances form and speaks purely of aesthetics. I use pottery as a vehicle to explore decoration and other formal questions. It allows me to investigate form, space and image. My greatest satisfaction comes from thoroughly filling surfaces with color and finely detailed decoration in a spirit that I feel is playful and whimsical. My attempt is to make the environment an expressive participant and to address the importance of aesthetics in our daily lives.” Connie Norman

Connie Norman was born in Japan, and raised all over the world. She is a graduate of the New York State College of Ceramics at Alfred University and concentrated in ceramics and ceramics sculpture. She has also studied ceramics in Tokoname, Japan. Her work has been shown nationally and juried into many national shows, including Strictly Functional, Ceramics USA, and Origins in Clay, and a solo exhibition at NCECA, 2006. Connie is a Robert Rauschenberg Foundation Fellowship recipient winner for 2002. Also, in 2005 she received a Wyoming Art Council Visual Art Fellowship. Her work has been published in Ceramics Monthly. In December 2004 she was on the cover of Ceramics Monthly Magazine.

 

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Arlene Shechet

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Arlene Shechet’s modeled surfaces demonstrate how clay mirrors the artist’s touch. Her objects bear the mark and memory of her hands. The sculpture’s bulges, hollows, spouts, and holes evoke bodily features, and as the artist notes, are “suggestive of the curving forms found in classical Indian sculpture.” By coating the clay with eccentric color combinations and metallic glazes—created with an experimental disregard for traditional firing temperatures—Shechet not only fractures the objects’ surfaces but also undermines any single association with nature. Seeming to expand and deflate like a breath, Shechet’s dynamic works continually transform, as they reappear anew moment by moment.

Born in New York City, Arlene Shechet received her BA from New York University and her MFA from Rhode Island School of Design. Her work has been exhibited at numerous venues, including the Museum of Contemporary Art Denver (2009), the Walker Art Center (2009), the Institute of Contemporary Art, Philadelphia (2008), the Scottsdale Museum of Contemporary Art (2008), the Rubin Museum of Art, New York (2007), Real Art Ways, Hartford (2005), and Henry Art Gallery, Seattle (2003). She has created on-site installations at the United States Embassy, Beijing (2008), Byrdcliffe Arts Colony, Woodstock (2007), the Cathedral of St. John the Divine, New York (2001), and elsewhere.

 

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Young Mi Kim

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Young Mi Kim was born and raised in South Korea. she and her family immigrated to New York City in 1974. She studied painting, graduating from Cooper Union. Chance adventure led her to discover clay  fifteen years ago and she is still inspired to explore its depths and possibilities.

Kim began her career as a painter and is a graduate of Cooper Union. She has been working in clay for over fifteen years, having discovered the medium best expresses her artistic vision. Her range of work includes tall open vessels, deep bowls and altered sculptural forms. Kim uses the two dimensional line to give her shapes visual form and strength, while her organic, hand-coiling technique and gently worked surfaces give her forms life. The space contained in her vessels balances deftly with their vegetative and marine inspired radiating, decorative patterns.

 

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Jason Walker

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Jason Walker’s ceramic sculptures offer narrative in both two- and three-dimensional forms. Walker’s painted porcelain tells part of a story depicted also by the object and the actions it may be committing. While the relationship between nature and technology are common themes touched about by Walker, some more recent pieces seem more sociological. Ideologies aside, the sheer skill and technique involved is also worthy of note.

“The culture I live in does not emphasize our physical connection and dependence on nature. The current ideology is reliant upon technology, and it promotes disembodied activity such as television [and] computers… The gap between man-made and natural is ever increasing.

Light bulbs, plugs, power-lines and pipes that grow from the earth are common images found in my work, juxtaposed with birds, insects, and organic matter such as leaves and trees. Similar to the thinking of the Hudson River School of painting, I attempt to portray nature’s vastness and human-kind as a small proponent of it. Yet I draw the small things of nature large and the huge creations of man small. I want to show how we influence the landscape, or nature. My ideas stem from my own experiences bicycle touring, backpacking and the daily hikes I take with my dog.” Jason Walker

 

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