Margeaux Claude is one of the Ceramics Monthly Undergraduate Showcase artists for this 2011.

Margeaux Claude is one of the Ceramics Monthly Undergraduate Showcase artists for 2011.

It’s that time of year again. Ceramics Monthly has chosen the winners of its popular Undergraduate Showcase competition. This competition highlights impressive work by artists who are still in the very beginning stages of their explorations with clay. The artists chosen are featured in the September 2011 issue of Ceramics Monthly.

Today, I thought I would give these artists a little CAD love and share their work with you. Let’s all give them a virtual round of applause! - Jennifer Harnetty, editor


 

Alix Brodeur, Logan, Utah
Utah State University
Instructors: John Neely, Dan Murphy, Trevor Dunn

In this past year as an undergraduate, my last, I’ve begun wood firing. The forms I’ve been working with have evolved from my experience with functional pottery, though they are not necessarily for the cupboard.

I am intrigued with the stationary vessel, the one that is used every day but rarely moved. Perhaps it lives on the mantle, on display for its sleek lines or strong presence. Or maybe it’s the catch-all by the front door, forever available for keys or pocket emptying. These fixed objects appeal to me in their larger scale and lend themselves to an investigation into form that pottery doesn’t always allow.

Coil building with the aid of simple molds offers for an immediacy in creating the initial shape of the pot. I feel I have the most control with these techniques, establishing a preliminary shape with coils then refining to find symmetry and confident lines.

While working, I’m always drawing from the last piece I created. One vessel begs a question that I attempt to answer with the next. They are simple questions, usually addressing a rim or profile. What if I built up instead of down? What if I made this side higher than that one? What if I pinched those parts toward each other? What if that plane bulged out instead of lying flat? I enjoy these questions for their exhaustive approach to a series of shapes. It allows me to feel as if I’ve covered all my bases—as if I could even come close.

Small bowl, 6 in. (15 cm) in length, high iron clay, wood fired, reduction cooled, 2011.

Small bowl, 6 in. (15 cm) in length, high iron clay, wood fired, reduction cooled, 2011.


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Margeaux Claude, Minneapolis, Minnesota
Kansas City Art Institute
Instructors: Cary Esser, George Timock, Paul Donnelly

After focusing on thrown pottery for my first two years at the Kansas City Art Institute, this was my first full body of work focused on functional slip cast forms. The forms were prototyped using a plaster wheel, or vertical plaster lathe. Wet plaster is cast to the head of the plaster wheel and then lathed during different periods of time as the plaster is setting. In some cases both prototypes and molds were made using this process. When making something like a simple cup form, I am able to lathe the mold over the cup so the sides of the mold are uniform in width from all respective dimensions of the original form. More complex forms are altered or made from multiple piece prototype components that are then joined before making more complex molds off the wheel. Working with the plaster wheel resulted from studying this forming process for two summers at the International Ceramics Studio in Hungary with George Timock. While in Kansas City, I was also very fortunate to intern for Andy Brayman, who has influenced the way I approach play, process, and experiment in my own work.

This body of work has been inspired by mid-20th-century architecture, dinnerware, and picnic sets. Bright celadon and cool and milky opaque glazes were chosen to reference the surfaces of Tupperware and Mel-Mac dinnerware.


 

Yeon joo Lee, Oakland, California
California College of the Arts
Instructors: Arthur Gonzalez, Nathan Lynch

In my work, I try to hold the attention of viewers and communicate my themes through composition, specifically pattern and negative space.

In the piece Baggage of Life, the theme of the acquired burden is something all people can relate to. By using multiple figures, a universal theme is established. Marching figures spiral out from a common center and appear to be walking outward in different directions, creating a metaphor for how everyone has difficulties, starting from one beginning, but looking for their own personal answers. We, as singular people, although unique, aren’t that much different from each other. In times of hardship, people come together to console each other, due to the fact that they themselves are carrying a similar sack of worries.

In Would You Like to Marry? I wanted to show an overburdened woman’s life. The vacuuming woman with a baby on her back represents this theme. She stands on a wide carpeted area, occupying just a fraction of one corner of the entire space. The carpet establishes a world needing to be cleaned and the loneliness of her situation. The carpet creates an atmosphere of negative space, giving the message more power.

Do You Want to Marry?, 13 in. (33 cm) in diameter, handbuilt, electric fired to cone 05.

Do You Want to Marry?, 13 in. (33 cm) in diameter, handbuilt, electric fired to cone 05.

Baggage of Life, each piece 14 in. (36 cm) in height, slip cast, electric fired to cone 6.

Baggage of Life, each piece 14 in. (36 cm) in height, slip cast, electric fired to cone 6.


 

Disk, 21 in. (53 cm) in diameter, porcelain with black slip under a layer of porcelain paper clay, with clear glaze, fired to cone 8 in an electric kiln, 2011.

Disk, 21 in. (53 cm) in diameter, porcelain with black slip under a layer of porcelain paper clay, with clear glaze, fired to cone 8 in an electric kiln, 2011.

Mugs, 4 in. (10 cm) in height, porcelain, interiors inlaid with slip and clear glazed, exteriors water etched and coated with Grolleg terra sigillata, fired to cone 10 in an electric kiln.

Mugs, 4 in. (10 cm) in height, porcelain, interiors inlaid with slip and clear glazed, exteriors water etched and coated with Grolleg terra sigillata, fired to cone 10 in an electric kiln.

Justin Crowe, Hudson, Ohio
New York State College of Ceramics at Alfred University
Instructors: Linda Sikora, Wayne Higby

To achieve the surface of my plates, I layer thin sheets of translucent porcelain to create varied shades of gray. My process begins with a negative plaster mold of a plate on a potter’s wheel. I paint a black slip pattern directly onto the plaster; this will become the primary black geometry seen on the surface of the plate. Next, I spread out paper clay slip on a plaster slab, dry it, and compress it into a thin sheet. I press the sheet into the plate negative over the primary pattern, and proceed to paint slip on that surface. This will be seen as the second layer of imagery; the darkest gray. The process is repeated up to three times for varied levels of depth and value. Once I have the paper clay imagery finished, I throw porcelain into the mold, forming the underside of the plate. During this step, the paper clay, and the image attached, are stretched and ripped, distorting the pattern. When the plate is leather hard, I flip the mold over and drop the plate out. Finally, I add details such as slip inlay, altered edges, and clear glaze. The plates are once fired to cone 8, at which point the porcelain becomes translucent exposing the patterns previously hidden underneath the surface.


 

Dane Youngren, Stanwood, Washington
Washington State University
Instructor: Ann Christenson

My work deals with the everyday structures of the built environment serving transportation, industrial, and other functional purposes. The utilitarian nature of such constructions lends itself to a matter-of-fact presentation of these places, which are typically taken at face value or even overlooked. . . . There is a certain beauty we seem to find with older structures as they reference the picturesque, idealized landscape as well as the ruin. The initial captivation with beauty is interrupted by a forlorn and melancholic aura of the work where there is evidence of destruction and abandonment.

The wood crates function as shipping containers as well as display devices, creating an extension of the sculpture with linkages to the utilitarian.

Creating large, open ceramic forms is a satisfying and challenging process that helps me to explore real and imaginative space. My work references specific places while maintaining distance from the particular. . . . The imagery I use has connections to westward expansion and industrialization, but my work tends toward the antithesis of this process of development—the obsolescence, deterioration, and other by-products from the declination of industrial progress.

Warehouse, 43 in. (1.09 m) in length, stoneware, fired to cone 3

Warehouse, 43 in. (1.09 m) in length, stoneware, fired to cone 3.


This article is featured in Ceramics Monthly magazine’s September 2011 issue.
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To see more stellar work by early-career ceramic artists, be sure to download your free copy of Fresh Work in Contemporary Ceramic Art: Ceramic Sculpture and Pottery by Emerging Artists.

 

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