Kira O’Brien

Kira O Brien Ceramics - featured artist on Ceramics Now

Kira O’Brien's profile on Ceramics Now Magazine - View her works

“My work has a sculptural yet functional element to it and encompasses a sense of traditional ceramic techniques. Within this tradition is the art of storytelling and symbols which evoke certain sentiments and nostalgia but also a sense of the present environment. This environment is psychological and therefore each piece points to emotions within the narrative.

My present work is currently narrated by the symbol of the chair.
How does one define a simple thing like the chair? What makes the chair, a chair? As James Joyce says in A Portrait of a young man, “Is a chair conceived as a work of tragic or comic art?”
No other object forcefully shapes the physical, social and emotional dimensions of our lives. On the chair seats only one person at a time and responds to the body through comfort. It has a communicative function and offers a glimpse into our collective ideas about that sense of comfort and order.
One can imagine the world from a persons’ perspective as it communicates compassion. Just as its absence communicates disrespect, lack of empathy and loss, whether this loss is a physical or emotional one.” Kira O’Brien

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Annie Woodford

Annie Woodford Contemporary Ceramics, featured artist on Ceramics Now Magazine

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Intrigued by the tenuous connection between past, present and future and the shadowy, illusive meaning of time, Annie Woodford makes work that is both haunting and enigmatic. Shifting boundaries between science and metaphysics and an enduring interest in parallel universe theory instill the pieces with a heightened intensity, whilst an obsession with hidden worlds has prompted her investigations into microscopy and the nano universe - making the unseen seen.

Captivated by the natural world and our mysterious, infinite universe - whether seen at macroscopic or microscopic levels - she finds them the source of endless fascination and wonder. Mankind’s place within that universe and the dichotomy between our wish for progress and our proclivity for self-destruction, has become a central theme.

A passion for frozen environments and the message they embrace, not only from the past but also for the future of our planet has resulted in research trips to the Arctic and Iceland and a detailed study of the coldest place on Earth – Antarctica.

The work exhibits qualities that reflect the natural world, elements that highlight its beauty and transience. Fragile, frangible, complex and esoteric, delicately balanced between risk and control, her pieces float and oscillate between absence and presence, hovering silently in a place between.

‘Nature is an infinite sphere of which the center is everywhere and the circumference nowhere’ Blaise Pascal, mathematician, poet, philosopher.

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Kwok-Pong Bobby Tso

Kwok-Pong Bobby Tso Contemporary Chinese Ceramics

Kwok-Pong Bobby Tso's profile on Ceramics Now Magazine - View his works

“The concept of my recent work is about form, and it grows from my curiosity about space; it investigates the relationship between two objects and it questions how we should make the landscape to react to man-made object. In my work I aim to explore that joyful, interesting, and mysterious relationship between objects and to create compositions with complex configurations though simple and unexpected components.

It is my intention to trigger the viewer to look closer and rediscover the ordinary, yet unfamiliar relationships that exists everywhere within all objects and human beings. Through sensations, communication and exploration, both objects and humans are able to obtain appropriate space and attention. I hope my work is able to look into this perception of the relationships, but more importantly - to enrich this relationship and establish a sense of place.” Kwok-Pong Tso

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Bogdan Teodorescu

Bogdan Teodorescu Romanian Ceramics

Bogdan Teodorescu's profile on Ceramics Now Magazine - View his works

“It seems like I’m always trapped in a style beyond a heterogeneous appearance of my work. It isn’t bad advertising, but if you really want to feel a connection with my works, you need to be patient and to look closely to more than twenty images. And perhaps contrary to my statement, my style wouldn’t be so difficult understand. Everywhere there is a sort of a struggle between fantasy and at least one kind of realism. I also admit that the manner is as important as the idea itself. Some say that the substance of a style is nowadays just a literary, philosophical concern - mostly when it has something to do with the more popular social involvement. I think that someone’s style doesn’t have to be interconnected with anything social and one can always choose to seek for inspiration in its inner self.

As far as I can say at this moment, my experience with ceramics has two aspects (or constraints). First is the period of apprenticeship, which numbers the last year of my high-school and the years in the University of Arts and Design in Cluj. The other one is my collaboration with Wagner Porcelains. If high-school was rather a period of independence - ceramics was a very late decision. The academic years were a continuous fight with a conservatory approach and, sometimes more frustrating, with the lack of technical possibilities. With Wagner, the limitations went only in the commercial direction. Despite all of this, I totally agree with (some) constraints, which can provide a wide range of surprising solutions.

My porcelain works have a high decorative touch, more in the sense of fashion with all its aspects. Collages and technical varieties are also present in my work, replacing the limitation of the material. With Wagner I only work with white porcelain, though adding my pictures. I am not trying to follow any precise trend, nor Romanian or International; I am only constantly paying attention to everything interesting and meaningful around me.” Bogdan Teodorescu

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Kimberly Cook

Kimberly Cook Contemporary Ceramics on Ceramics Now Magazine

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“Awkward primitive animal instincts lie unconsciously in our genetic make-up.  Dominance, survival, reproduction, and group instinct feed our propensity to digress into our egos; cruelty, alpha status, fight or flight, sexual exploits, and pack mentality.  In my body of work I create imagery that embodies tension and anxiety, while also reflecting animalistic traits and certain elements of human ritualistic thought and control that intrigue me.  Using clay as my primary sculptural material allows me to explore these thoughts and questions using techniques that actually originated in human ritualistic practices.  Figures, deities, and fetishes were modeled into both animal and human form for magical or religious practices long before clay was used for utilitarian ware.  This harnessing of imagery deemed as powerful has survived for centuries, allowing humans to access manifestations of supernatural forces believed to improve their daily struggles in life. 

Personally and intuitively driven, my work with imagery of animals is grounded in the exploration of the universal human condition, focusing on aspects of the ceremonial; serving as embodiments for the physical, spiritual, and psychological being. My preoccupation with human existence, alienation, fear and apathy, is what motivates me to express elements of autobiography, ritual, and the significance of life’s struggles.  Working between narrative and abstract, revealing both the perception of power and powerlessness, the figures and symbols that I create are often purposely rendered disfigured and dysfunctional.” Kimberly Cook

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Paula Bellacera

Paula Bellacera Ceramics

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“All my life I have been fascinated with form and color. During my youth I watched my mother dabble in various art media; eventually she settled on ceramics. Inspired by her explorations I struck out on my own. I focused on the two-dimensional plane first with photography, then painting, and finally printmaking. Recently I began attending a community Raku night where I discovered my true joy is interacting with clay and creating three-dimensional forms. The spontaneity and plasticity of the medium makes handbuilding a process of discovery - full of surprises. My approach is a collaboration where the clay and I work together to discover hidden shapes and reveal emotions and personalities through animal forms.

Just as friends and acquaintances have their own distinctive traits and behaviors, each of my sculpted animals has personality and expresses a unique character. When people step into my world (via studio or gallery), they often smile and chuckle as they recognize a bit of themselves, their pets, friends or family members in the postures and expressions of my sculptures. In this work, my intention is to present the best of humanity through our animal friends and to help us laugh and love our differences and ourselves.” Paula Bellacera

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Debra Fleury

Debra Fleury Contemporary Ceramics

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“While growing up near the ocean, I spent many hours peering at tiny creatures and looking for clues to their secret lives. This began a lifelong passion for the the minute details, the battered fragments, and the myriad patterns of organic life. The smallest bits of bone or shell would ignite intense curiosity and imaginative leaps; What was this creature? What did it look like? How did it die? Did it have a family, a home, or friends? Did it feel or think? What would it have thought of me? I create sculptural objects in an empathetic attempt to gain insight into the inner life of creatures and I seek to spark curiosity and imaginative leaps in the viewer.

Clay is critical to exploring these ideas. Touching clay and responding to its organic properties are key aspects of my largely exploratory and intuitive creative process. Risk taking and pushing materials to their limits is also important. I experiment with the forces used to shape clay, glaze, and glass as a process for imagining and exploring the effects of natural forces. I combine clays with glass or other materials to see what they reveal about their individual properties when they are fused together.” Debra Fleury

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Cindy Billingsley

Cindy Billingsley Contemporary Ceramic sculptures on Ceramics Now

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Art should come from the heart of the artist, it should engage the audience, it should connect with the community, it should start a dialog, a debate. It should get people to look at things in a way they have not thought of, or to see what they have looked at but not really seen. Art has to come deeply from the artist, there has to be raw emotion and honesty in the work if it is to connect with people. An Artist paints and sculpts what they know. These are all the reasons I wanted to do a show about Alzheimer’s disease. To start a dialog, to connect, to get people to understand what it is like to have the disease, it is a part of my life, so it is what I know, what I am around. I took those thoughts and feelings and transformed them into visuals to engage my audience.
I speak through paint and clay. Art is a look inside the artist, what I am feeling is transferred into the clay while I am sculpting, Those feelings have to go somewhere. I wanted to tell a story, I wanted you to feel how it is, the frustrations, humor, the compassion and the heartache of having Alzheimer’s disease and for the ones caring for one with this disease.

William Faulkner said it best ~ The aim of every artist is to arrest motion, which is life, by artificial means and hold it fixed so that a hundred years later, when a stranger looks at it it moves again since it is life.

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David D. Gilbaugh

David D. Gilbaugh Contemporary Ceramics

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“Through creating and teaching others how to make “Treepots” and “Tectonic Sculptures,” I have dedicated my artistic efforts in ceramics to exploring life and the irony of renewal through death. Trees are the primary subject of my work and human emergence is its’ theme. Through this creative work I engage the interrelationship between humanity and nature. 

I focus on trees because I have a natural love of them from my youth. As a child I spent my summers with my brother roaming the woods of northern Illinois, and as an adolescent I spent them backpacking the forests of the Rocky Mountains of Colorado. Observing the tree excites my creative expression because it demonstrates the promise of renewal in the events of birth, the processes of aging, and the inevitability and promise of new life through death and decay. In this way life continuously takes on evolved and more beautiful forms through both creation and evolution. Both are proven simultaneously in the cycle of life. Evidence of this is shown most brilliantly to me in the life cycle of trees and I speak of it most effectively through my art in the medium of clay.” David Gilbaugh

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Teresa & Helena Jané

Teresa and Helena Jane Contemporary ceramic design

THJané's profile on Ceramics Now Magazine - View their works

“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

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Marianne McGrath

Marianne McGrath Contemporary Ceramics - Ceramics Now Magazine

Marianne McGrath's profile on Ceramics Now Magazine - View her works

“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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Suzanne Stumpf

Suzanne Stumpf's profile on Ceramics Now Magazine - View her works

“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

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Deborah Britt

Deborah Britt Pottery - Ceramics

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“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

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Kathy Pallie

Kathy Pallie's profile on Ceramics Now Magazine - View her works

"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

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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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