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Ceramic Artists

See how today's ceramic artists are taking the lessons from old traditions and shaping their work for the future. Meet emerging and established ceramic artists and find out what influences their work. Learn more about the issues affecting contemporary studio ceramic artists and potters. In these articles, you'll find out how working artists make it work. You'll learn about their inspirations, methods, challenges and see examples of some of the best ceramic art being made today. And don't forget to download your free copy of Emerging Ceramic Artists: New Pottery and Ceramic Sculpture. You won't want to miss these up-and-coming ceramic artists who are sure to make a mark on the ceramic art world!

Untitled, 19 in. (48 cm) in height, stoneware, fired to cone 10 in reduction, 1995.

Ryo Toyonaga: Enigma of the Exiles

Posted On May 24, 2010 1 Comment

Ryo Toyonaga’s recent survey curated by Midori Yamamura and designed by Yumi Kori at the Vilcek Foundation in New York City (March 12-May 15, 2009) summarized nearly twenty years of work in ceramics and other media. For our purposes, we will concentrate on Toyonaga’s evolution as a ceramic sculptor. This is helpful, especially now, since, like many other ceramic artists recently (Frank Boyden, Peter Voulkos, Jim Leedy, Patti Warashina, Michael Lucero, etc.), Toyonaga is switching almost exclusively to bronze and aluminum, cast at the legendary Tallix Foundry in Beacon, New York, near his studio in Garrison, New York, in the Hudson River Valley. It is more important than ever to treat his ceramic work to date as a finite system, even a closed book.


Relative Permanence: The Vessels of Karen Swyler

Posted On May 24, 2010 1 Comment

Working from her faculty studio at Green Mountain College in Poultney, Vermont, Karen Swyler employs what can be described as a thematic approach to her ceramic work. Concentrating on personal relationships and memory, her pieces rely on juxtaposition to one another to be complete both in concept and form. Swyler’s work is clearly grounded in the history of ceramics and the vessel, but through cutting and altering her thrown forms, much of Swyler’s work enters the realm of the sculptural. Her vessels act as metaphoric memoirs—as bodies relating to one another through proximity, palette, line, and contour.

Photo of Mark Skudlarek in his studio.

Working Potters: Mark Skudlarek

Posted On May 21, 2010 1 Comment

The initial reason I wanted to make a living at pottery was that it would provide me with a degree of independence. I imagine this was instilled in me growing up on a dairy farm in central Minnesota. I was accustomed to work but what I enjoyed about pottery (and farming) was the cyclical nature of the occupation and the ability to live and work from home.

Photo of Joanna Howells throwing on the wheel in her studio

Working Potters: Joanna Howells

Posted On May 21, 2010 1 Comment

I fell in love with making almost as soon as I touched clay, some two years before leaving school. But it was at Cambridge University, where I visited the Fitzwilliam Museum twice a week to see the early Chinese porcelains from the Song period, that I discovered a determination to give up medicine as a career and pursue ceramics.

Photo of Charity Davis-Woodard working in her studio

Working Potters: Charity Davis-Woodard

Posted On May 20, 2010 3 Comments

I became a potter later in life, following a previous career that never felt quite right—as though I was given a role that should have belonged to someone else. On the other hand, my experience making pots in several adult education classes resulted in exactly the opposite feeling: this was a good fit. I wanted to feel passionate about my profession and have it be an integral part of my everyday life.

Photo of Stanley Mace Andersen working in his studio

Working Potters: Stanley Mace Andersen

Posted On May 20, 2010 6 Comments

I was 36 when I got my MFA in 1978. I was offered two not-very-appealing jobs, one as a part-time ceramics instructor at a nearby college, another as a ceramics studio tech at another college. I knew the responsible thing to do would be to take one of these jobs, but I also knew that if I did, I wouldn’t make many pots. So I set up a studio in my basement. My first job as a potter consisted of making 288 unglazed earthenware cylinders every month, each imprinted with a hand-made stamp bearing the words “Cook’s Tools,” at 50¢ a pop.

Photo of Victoria Christen working in her studio

Working Potters: Victoria Christen

Posted On May 20, 2010 0 Comments

As with almost everything in my life, I came to making pots in somewhat of a round about way. During graduate school at the University of Minnesota back in the early 1980s, I never once thought that I would try to earn a living making pots. I saw myself as a sculptor and, after graduating, I had a couple of successful gallery shows and even received a National Endowment for the Arts grant based on my sculpture. Around my second year out of school, I took a break from my sculptural work to handbuild some small jars and cups. I found that I really enjoyed the freedom of painting the pieces and loved how quickly I was able move through the stages of glazing and firing. I was enjoying the work, so I just kept at it.

Tureen, 9 in. (23 cm) in height, stoneware, fired to cone 10 in reduction, 2009.

Peter Karner

Posted On April 19, 2010 3 Comments

Nestled in a narrow canyon alongside a creek, Peter Karner makes functional vessels that embody his surroundings. The surfaces of his undulating ceramic forms rise and fall like the ridge lines around his studio. The highly contrasting glazes on his pots, toned black, green, tan, and orange, are reminiscent of the desert patinas and lichen that appear in his environment. In a most subtle way, Karner’s pottery incorporates these natural elements, bringing the vastness of the landscape into an intimate perspective.

Eidetic, approximately 10 ft. (3 m) in length (dimensions variable); ceramic, slips and paint, wood, mixed media, 2003.

Steve Reynolds: Off the Wall

Posted On April 19, 2010 0 Comments

Steve Reynolds’ work is a poke in the eye; enmeshed in contradiction, it is deeply intelligent, prickly, and tough-minded. His work is uncomfortable to look at, defying all categories, always an amalgam of the beautiful and the ugly. Neither of these qualities have been his focus, they emerged as an indirect consequence of his process.

Re/Claim, 15 in. (38 cm) in height, post-consumer found objects, porcelain, glazes.

Daniel Bare, Emerging Artist 2010

Posted On April 19, 2010 1 Comment

Daniel Bare, Hudsonville, Michigan