Ryan Blackwell

Ryan Blackwell Ceramics, Featured on Ceramics Now Magazine - Contemporary ceramics

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Ryan Blackwell was born and raised in Indiana — receiving a BA in Studio Art from DePauw University in 2009. Expecting to graduate from the University of Massachusetts Dartmouth in the spring of 2013 with an MFA, Ryan intends to move to Brooklyn and continue his journey as an emerging artist.

“My practice is rooted in material investigation. I find my work in a consistent state of flux. Processes change and evolve, imagery comes and goes. This minute I’m steeped in symbolism, say, through the repetition of thousands of dustpans, while the other I’m firmly rooted in geometric abstraction.

My fluid framework reflects my experience of American culture—a place where I navigate free choice and inherent socio-political and economic constraints. Through symbols and materials of domesticity my works find some continuity. It is my intention to create works that, in relation to each other, seem as dichotomous as they are connected. Although materials and processes may seem disparate, they find connection through aesthetics and systematic repetition. It is through a controlled failure of my materials and systems that I find consistency. But of course, inconsistency is always present.” Ryan Blackwell

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Ellen Schön

Ellen Schon ceramics, Featured artist on Ceramics Now Magazine

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“I have always been interested in the ability of a ceramic vessel to point to something beyond itself—to function as metaphor. Ceramic vessels, physically structured with necks, shoulders, bellies, and feet, can evoke the gesture and anthropomorphized stance of the human body; they also reveal deep aspects of human experience and of the natural world.

My fervent interest in clay vessels has led me to explore new territories in form and surface. Recent work explores three variations on the ceramic vessel form:

The ceramic vessel as a Wellspring or Womb, with possibilities of both fecundity and barrenness;
The vessel as Bottle, whose forms evoke the elongated posture of Cycladic idols and the scarified texture of Yoruba terracotta heads;
The Planet Series explores swirling colored surfaces on rounded orbs, suggesting planets and depths of earthly strata.

These series represent different but related expressive interests. Each piece in a series is part of a continually evolving solution to a set of questions or parameters I have chosen to work within. The parameters, themselves, may change as the series evolve.

Through spontaneous handling of inanimate clay, I attempt to find and breathe life into form. My creative process is grounded in reflective practice—imposing ideas on and listening to the material in cycles of learning. The material directs me as I direct it. We are in a reciprocal relationship.” Ellen Schon

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Marianne McGrath

Marianne McGrath Contemporary Ceramics - Ceramics Now Magazine

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“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

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Els Wenselaers

Els Wenselaers contemporary Belgian ceramics

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“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

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Kjersti Lunde

Kjersti Lunde Norwegian Ceramics

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“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

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Mark Goudy

Mark Goudy Contemporary ceramics magazine

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"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

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Merete Rasmussen

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“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

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Carol Gouthro

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Read the interview with Carol Gouthro, Artist of the month - May 2011

“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

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David Carlsson

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“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.

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Margrieta Jeltema

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Read the interview with Margrieta Jeltema, Ceramic technique / Paperclay, May 2011

“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

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David Roberts

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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.

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Patrick Colhoun

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Read the interview with Patrick Colhoun, New artist - April 2011

“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

Patrick Colhoun lives and works in Belfast.

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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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