Rafa Pérez: Untitled #35
“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
“The flowers of the woodlands and gardens of my upstate New York home are the subjects of my work. The intricate beauty in nature compels me to employ a complex process to translate this to the surface of my pots. I choose to use porcelain because it is the most pure of clays and when left unglazed and polished , an enticingly smooth rich surface is revealed. I began carving my porcelain forms during graduate studies at Skidmore College with Leslie Ferst and Regis Brodie. I continued my exploration of floral forms and structures by pursuing postgraduate study in botanical illustration at The New York Botanical Gardens. I create the bas-relief botanical images by carving into the leather hard wheel thrown porcelain pot. It is a process that can take more than one hundred hours. Each piece is hand polished after the first firing, the bisque, and again after the final high temperature firing to achieve the smooth marble like sheen.
My pots are my response to the natural world and my wish for its preservation. I strive to record the resiliency of nature in the bas-relief botanical images. I attempt also to capture the delicacy and fragility of the blossoms that will ironically be outlived by my pots
As objects of contemplation, it is my hope that my pots will celebrate the beauty and strength of nature and encourage its preservation.” JoAnn Axford
In addition to teaching at both the college and community arts levels, JoAnn has exhibited extensively in juried exhibits throughout the United States, including The Strictly Functional Pottery National, Crafts National, and San Angelo National Ceramic Competition. She was recognized as an Emerging Artist by Ceramics Monthly magazine in 2006. Her work has been published In Clay Times Magazine, Surface Design for Ceramics by Maureen Mills, Lark Books, and 500 Raku by Lark Books.
JoAnn Axford: Dandelion covered jar
“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.
“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
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.
“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.
“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.
“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.
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.
“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.
“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.
“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
Cynthia Lahti: NURSE, group of 3