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Ceramic Artists Watch:
New Pottery and Ceramic Sculpture


Emerging Ceramic Artists to Watch:
New Pottery and Ceramic Sculpture
Matthew hyleck, Baltimore, MD . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 1 Marie weichMan, Houston, TX . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 2 nathan Prouty, Philadelphia, PA . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 3 ehren tool, Berkeley, CA . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 4 aMy santoferraro, Philadelphia, Pa . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 5 Valerie ZiMany, Appleton, WI . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 6 nielsen aMon/ruby leVesque, Brooklyn, NY . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 7 Gillian Parke, Durham, NC . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 8 Gwendolyn yoPPolo, Belmont, NY . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 9 MyunGJin choi, Philadelphia, PA . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 10 Jenni brant, Lincoln, NE . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 11 alwyn o’brien, Saltspring Island, BC, Canada . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 12 Patrick couGhlin, Gainesville, FL . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 13 Misty GaMble, Oakland, CA . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 14 JereMy brooks, Philadelphia, PA . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 15

A Note From Your Ceramic Arts Daily Hosts
We are all emerging or submerging in some way, aren’t we? In fact, most of us are likely to be doing both simultaneously in different areas of our lives. Well, here we’re concerned with the clay part of our lives, and we at Ceramic Arts Daily tend to operate under the assumption that we’re all rising rather than falling. The works presented on the following pages are by ceramic artists who have been pursuing a career in ceramics for ten years or less, and as you will see, that is one of a very few things they have in common. Yes, they are emerging, but more specifically, they have emerged to a particular place; a certain plateau or level of facility where we can see the cohesion and resolution of formal and conceptual elements in their work. So, while it may be said that there is nothing new in ceramics, we would submit that, because there are always new people in ceramics, there are always new and exciting developments. Enjoy! —Sherman Hall, Jennifer Harnetty, Bill Jones

Matthew hyleck, Baltimore, MD
My goal is to create utilitarian pots for every day use; simple forms that speak primarily about functionality and the intimacy gained through daily use.

I am a second-generation potter, so I was raised in an environment with both historical and contemporary handmade ceramics. I avoided following in my father’s footsteps until my sophomore year in college, at which point I enrolled in my first official ceramics class, at which point I was hooked for life. In 1998 I came across an old industrial building with a residence just outside of Yellow Springs, Ohio, and I immediately envisioned this space as a fully functioning studio. I still keep a photo of this space on my office desk. A few years later, my father saw the photo sitting on my desk. He knew exactly where this facility was located and he had the same vision for it. I don’t see myself deviating from making utilitarian pottery; rather, I see my work evolving organically as a response to my life and my immediate environment. Natural forms and symbols are always finding their way into my work. Working primarily within a family of glazes called Shino—an American variation on a traditional Japanese Raku glaze—my goal is to create utilitarian pots for every day use; simple forms that speak primarily about functionality and the intimacy gained through daily use. The life of a pot becomes complete only when it is used, so I strive to make work not for the shelf but for the table. I am very interested in telling a simple story or narrative about place, whether that is an object’s place in time, a direct reference to location or an object’s intended place within the house.

Dinner plates, 10 in. (25 cm) square, stoneware with Shino glaze and wood ash, fired to Cone 10 in reduction. 1

Marie weichMan, Houston, TX
It is important to me that each piece I create is embedded with both a sense of process and socially mindful purpose.

I was working toward an undergraduate degree in graphic design when I had to fill an elective in a studio area. To be honest, I can’t even remember why ceramics, but there I was. I fell in love and never looked back. Having amazing mentors through those years was, without question, the decisive factor involved in the change for me. Incidently, I’ve never used that graphic design degree. For me, having any kind of plans for my life is like trying to write words on water. Clay doesn’t fit into my life; it is my life. By that I mean being an artist who works primarily in clay drives every decision that I make. I wake up in the morning and ask myself, “What can I contribute to the world around me by way of this creative, visual form of expression that is so important to me?” And of course, I also ask myself, “Do I have enough eggs in the fridge to eat breakfast today?” I have found that, while being idealistic is a luxury, being realistic is necessary, so I think of my career as existing in two parts: The first is to produce works of art that are somehow a contribution to today’s various dialogs. This is my chance to be conceptual, intellectual, intuitive and idealistic. The second part is to produce works that will put food on my table. I really, really love throwing pots on the wheel and, thankfully, other people like buying those pots. It is a very tough way to try to make a living. I say “try” because that is really the only way to describe it. Lucky for me, there is a third aspect to my career that satisfies both the idealistic virtues of my life as an artist and the necessary needs of my existence as a human being—I can teach. And I love to teach. Since earning my M.F.A. eight years ago, I have been working at various colleges and universities as an adjunct instructor of ceramics and sculpture. It pays the bills, usually, and gives me an opportunity to exchange ideas with the youngest of my peers. Making a living as an artist is a juggling act, a life only for those with a little gypsy in their souls. But it is the only way I’d ever live. And (no pun intended) for me clay is the center of it all.

Dangerous Playground (red), 8 ft. (2.4 m) in height, ceramic, rope, thorns, wood, cable; 2007. 2

nathan Prouty, Philadelphia, PA
Guided by visual clues, viewers must invent their own connections with and within my work, by calling upon previous associations and learned conventions.

I was actually turned off by ceramics in the beginning. In my mind, ceramics had to be chunky, brown, burnt and earthy. I was drawn to Alfred University by their glass program and, after a semester, decided that was not a material that was conducive to my ideas. I realized that clay was more open and versatile. The “eureka” moment came when I saw some decal plates of Howard Kottler’s and a Ron Nagle sculpture in a show on campus. In their different ways, these two pieces blew me out of the water, and I just knew I needed to figure out what was going on there. I’m currently an artist-in-residence at The Clay Studio in Philadelphia. Being given a place to work in such a great community of young artists is perfect for someone of my age to make that transition from the academic-based studio to the real-world studio. In the two years

I’ve been out of school, the ceramics-as-a-living thing hasn’t really been within reach. In an ideal world, I’d make it out there based upon sales of my work, but building that inertia while also paying off student loans is a bit of a struggle, as we all know. My artistic dream is to be able to make the work I need to make. Right now, the foundation of that work is built on ceramics, but the material itself is not the center; the material conforms to the idea, but the idea is not based upon the material. Many times I turn to paint, rubber, sand, fabric and flocking. While I don’t know if clay would be the best way to execute the idea, I’d love to get a chance to go big with my work. Whether this takes the form of a large-scale public sculpture or an actual architectural space is something I’d love to explore.

Building Study, 7 in. (18 cm) in height, slabbuilt white earthenware, fired to Cone 04, with paint, laquer and flocking. 3

ehren tool, Berkeley, CA
My work deals with the uneasy collision, and collusion, between military and civilian cultures.…Firsthand knowledge of war is a huge burden that most people carry in silence.

I came to art after five years in the Marine Corps, during which I served in the 1991 Persian Gulf War. My work deals with the uneasy collision, and collusion, between military and civilian cultures. It is a surreal experience for me to come across video games like Desert Storm and Desert Storm II, and toys “for ages 6 and up” that feature the gas mask I wore in the Gulf, not to mention pornography that features props including the American flag, Marine Corps uniforms and weapons. I have been using images of real military insignia and images from toys and movies to highlight this cultural interface without being didactic. These themes are powerful and draw deep responses from a broad audience. I think the message will be as compelling during peacetime as it is now, while we are a country at war. I am drawn to ceramics for its longevity and ability to record. Wars and people are ephemeral when compared to the life span of high-fired ceramic. It is not possible to communicate the pain, waste or intensity of war. My hope is that my art will be understood on more than one level, but “the war thing” is part of it. My wife calls my work “War Awareness Art.” I am more comfortable with that term than with most other labels. Firsthand knowledge of war is a huge burden that most people carry in silence. Throughout history, cups have been symbols or surrogates that represent a life, an individual. I display cups singly and in units—fire teams, squads, platoons and companies. The huge violent themes of war are overwhelming, but I present them on the scale of a cup. Images that would be intolerable in other formats sneak into our domestic lives on a cup and we’re compelled to live with them, just as the soldier-witnesses must live with their nightmares. Even if you can’t get your head around it, you can put your hand around it. If money were no object I would like to go to past, present and future countries the United States has been at war with and make cups from the local clay and decorate the cups with U.S. and the host country’s military insignia. And share a beverage with the veterans.

One of Thousands, 5 in. (13cm) in height, porcelain with ceramic decals; 2006. This is one of 7200 cups Tool has made and given away since 2001. 4

aMy santoferraro, Philadelphia, PA
I love that any silly li’l ole object can become charged with meaning, history, sentiment and the authority to tell stories.

As a kid, I secretly collected “shoe poison.” I kept records of each pair of shoes that helped contribute to my coveted collection of gel silica. Diagrams, dates of purchase, sizes, colors and materials were all meticulously cataloged in my Holly Hobby notebook. Only my best friends were invited into my top-secret laboratory/closet to view it and hear of my somewhat sinister plans to poison bad guys. The collection remains my playground. I am fascinated by collections and collected objects. I am amused by the wacky relationships sprouted between collectors and their collected objects. Collections are spectacularly selfish satisfactions that are classless and limit-

less. Rich, snooty museum collectors in search of obscure works of art and unemployed QVC shoppers looking for one more crystal unicorn are essentially doing the same thing as me; strategically collecting objects to organize and make sense of our surroundings through interactions with the material world. I carefully handpick objects that are familiar or boast a degree of promise and beauty to me. I relentlessly tinker with ceramic objects until they fit and work in a way that is very mine. After all, I am the boss of them. I enjoy putting objects and stories together piece by piece and welcome the layers and silly connections that develop from my making and thought processes.

Evergreens Are the Most Important, slip-cast porcelain, foam, contact paper and found materials. 5

Valerie ZiMany, Appleton, WI
Nature employs strategies for survival in an environment that requires living forms to be strong yet resilient, attract yet repel, and endure through constant evolution.

My first serious encounter with clay as an artistic medium came in an elective course with Jim Makins, while a freshman at the University of the Arts (UArts) in Philadelphia. I had originally intended to major in painting, but that class with Jim taught me the vast potential of working in clay. I changed my major, and am glad to this day that I did. I have been fortunate to be able to support myself and continue my work since I left undergraduate school, mostly through grants and international residency opportunities. After UArts, I received a Fulbright Fellow grant to research Japanese ceramics and craft history, then returned again to complete my M.F.A. at Kanazawa College of Art through the Japanese Government (Monbusho) Scholarship. The final three years I was a resident artist at the Utatsuyama Craft Workshop, a fully funded program sponsored by the city of Kanazawa. After a number of years being able to focus wholly on my own Amble, 11 in. (28 cm) in height, press-molded and wheelwork, and having built up a good thrown porcelain with glaze. network of fellow artists and galleries, it was at first an adjustment to return to the States. While keeping an active studio practice, I decided to pursue interested in exploring the effect of working an interest in teaching at the college level, and on a larger scale again, and investigating other after short stints in a few programs, I was offered materials, such as metals and plastics in relation my current position as a Fellow at Lawrence to clay. And, I am feeling the itch to return to University. I find working with undergraduate Japan. I miss the qualities of Japanese porcelain, students and seeing their own relationship with and I want to keep the connections I have there clay develop highly rewarding. alive to continue to foster international exchangMy dream is to build my own studio! I am es with Japan and the U.S. in ceramics. 6

nielsen aMon and ruby leVesque, Brooklyn, NY

Nielsen: Clay is one of the many mediums I have used to create sculpture. Through my professional experience as an architectural modelmaker, I became a master at developing prototypes and moldmaking. Working for many renowned architects, primarily I.M. Pei, I developed an understanding of design and the spatial relationship of forms. Ruby: Clay provided a way to bring together my varied experience in the visual arts. As a student of photography at Pratt Institute, I learned to compose and balance imagery in a bounded frame. My work experience in graphics reinforced my interest in patterns and their construction. With clay I was able to coalesce all these influences into three-dimensional form. Our initial collaboration was a geometric stamp for one of Ruby’s slab-built vases. Niel interpreted Ruby’s two-dimensional drawing for the stamp into three-dimensions. We realized that the stamp made a beautiful tile on its own. The body of work that has grown from this first collaboration continues to evolve. Every artist dreams of being able to make a living from their work, not only as an endorsement of their vision, but as a vindication of all the hard work. We would like to develop a broader audience for our sculpture, but our work is more contemplative than controversial and so public recognition is an ongoing challenge. We have started a company, Tactile Geometrics, to produce some of our designs for the commercial tile market. We hope that our company will be able to sustain us and support our further explorations of sculptural work. We envision using ceramics for prototyping ideas for monumental sculptures in other mediums. We also see our sculptural relief integrated with architecture. Living in New York, we are inspired by the beauty and longevity of the terra-cotta friezes and tiling Mars Cluster, 12 in. (30 cm) square, hand-pressed tiles with matt glaze. This design explores the equilateral grid. The on the art deco buildings here.
modular figure and supporting shapes enable this piece to be arranged in nine distinct patterns. 7

Gillian Parke, Durham, NC
I am interested in the conflict created by kitsch images on handmade objects.

Fine bone china and porcelain are frequently associated with treasured heirlooms that are passed down between generations. My association with porcelain stems from early childhood summer trips to visit my grandmother in Northern Ireland, where she would take me to local china shops to buy small porcelain souvenirs. As I pursued my ceramic education and started working with porcelain, these memories came to the forefront to influence both my techniques and conceptual directions. My current work combines elements of manufactured porcelain and Japanese pottery, particularly Shigaraki stoneware. Fine porcelain is highly processed and purified, mass-produced, and fired in a controlled manner using saggars, effectively removing any evidence of an individual artist. In contrast, Shigaraki ware is typically handmade stoneware with feldspar inclusions fired in an anagama kiln, the only decoration coming from the randomness of wood ash. The connection between the potter’s touch and the fire’s effect on the final piece is retained. In my work, feldspar inclusions are added to porcelain and the resulting surfaces are achieved through a combination of an unpredictable atmospheric gas firing and reliable electric firing. The conflict is further explored by incorporating open-stock decals and metallic lusters, which have often been overlooked by modern studio potters as feminine hobby materials. I am interested in the conflict created by kitsch images on handmade objects, and in challenging the aesthetics and values presented when using such materials unconventionally. The resulting works illustrate the contrasts in aesthetics, forms, traditions and function found between Japanese pottery and fine porcelain. Through the application of underglazes, overglazes and decals, the textures are further enriched to give a more visceral surface not often associated with porcelain.

Bleu Bleu Bleu, 8¼ in. (21 cm) in height, wheelthrown and assembled porcelain with feldspar inclusions, underglaze patina and inlay, celadon glaze, fired to Cone 10 in reduction; then lusters, overglazes and open-stock decals were applied and fired multiple times to Cone 017 in an electric kiln. 8

Gwendolyn yoPPolo, Belmont, NY
Making pots is creating environments to contain our moments of reverie and nourishment.

In this age of virtual reality, there is a general move towards the immaterial, where the self can exist intangibly through the medium of screen and type. It is crucial for me to return into my body, which carries a wisdom that I access through making. When I was just learning to throw pots at Supermud community pottery in New York City in the early 1990s, I worked with peer apprentices to build a wood kiln out in the country. The experience of collaboration and the exhilaration of firing those early pots with wood cemented my passion and dedication to working with clay. Making art became a process of discovering individual voice within mutually empowering community relationships and purposeful activity. After developing my artistic voice and vision, I have worked as an educator in settings ranging from community arts centers to liberal arts colleges. I enjoy the balance of time spent alone in the studio with time spent in transformational dialogue with peers and with students. Currently I am prioritizing studio work again, but ultimately see myself returning to education for the energizing relationships of teaching and learning that it involves. My dream has always been to renew a sense of human scale to our social relations, and I foresee accomplishing this through creating ceramic art that addresses contemporary concerns while also threading historical and cultural connections into our awareness. In making objects with thoughtful attention, I work towards a social order based on quality of experience, meaningful work, human scale and community relationships. When we integrate science, art, design and craft in our work, the objects we make are relevant and powerful repositories for meaningful contemplations. We have the power to remake the world, one touch at a time.

Teapot with hanging infuser, 10 in. (25 cm) in height, porcelain. The infuser is removable and keys into the lid with a twist; 2008. 9

MyunGJin choi, Philadelphia, PA
I am drawn to the bizarrely beautiful fractal images and perception of mathematics as a body of sterile formulas.

When I was in college at the KangNam University, South Korea, as an industrial design/ceramic design student, I had a chance to share a studio with a ceramic artist and teacher. I went to the studio everyday after class; I couldn’t stay away. After I graduated, I came to the United States to pursue my graduate studies at The State University of New York at New Paltz. Clay, with its infinite possibilities, best expresses my ideas. I would like to extend its use in combination with other media. I strive to make site-specific installations that consist of an ensemble of repetitive objects or effects that work together to create a new whole. I deal with psychological weight and space. The manipulation and temporary alteration of a known physical space leads to the expansion of ones own psychological space. My work combines both hand building and slip casting techniques. I use colored clay, combining oxides and commercial
Halifax, 130 in. (3.3 m) in length, slip-cast porcelain and handbuilt colored clay.

stains to enrich the color palette. I often use a graduated color palette, which for me incites a quieter more subtle feeling in the work. I see myself as a teacher and as an artist. Teaching art is teaching a serious attitude about life and the process of knowing self. My own studio practice feeds my teaching and my teaching feeds my studio practice. I make a living through teaching and through the sale of my work. I also have been fortunate to receive grants to support research projects, travel and community artwork. I sincerely believe that art has the power to change a person, society and history. I would like to work with community groups to create site-specific public art projects. One of the strengths of the ceramic process is its ability, through collaboration, to involve and engage the community—artists, students and the general public—in a positive and unified way. 10

Jenni brant, Lincoln, NE
Beauty has the power to make us more aware of the present moment and more aware of those we are sharing it with.

The combination of a wheel and a lump of clay presented me with challenges I had never faced with other mediums. I was very determined and interested in developing the skills and sensitivity necessary to get the clay to do what I wanted it to. Initially, it took me three weeks to center well, and then another eight years to throw good pots! My plan after finishing graduate school was to work full time as a studio potter. The realization that I am yet unable to sell enough work to make a living required that I find steady income. However, I did not want to go the route of teaching in academia, hopping around to interviews and temporary adjunct positions across the country. I currently work as the education director for the Lux Center for the Arts in Lincoln, Nebraska, a position that allows me to continue working in ceramics and education while earning a decent salary and job security. I still make pots in the hours outside of my 9 to 5 job. My partner and I work out of the studio behind our house, which we have named Burro Branch Studios. I designed a website that features our work and we set up online shops through We have home studio sales, I enter juried shows regularly and I am seeking to have work represented in a variety of galleries. I continue to work toward the day when I can say hello to a full-time gig as a studio potter. If money, time and marketability were not concerns, I would simply love to share the experience of working in clay with more people in our overly visual culture, reconnecting their eyes, hearts and hands. Adults sit Dessert bowl, 7 in. (18 cm) in height, thrown and altered, with slip-trailed slip, glaze, fired to Cone 6 in an electric kiln; mother-of-pearl luster fired to Cone 018. at computers all day and tap on keyboards. Kids sit at home all weekend and click buttons on controllers. I think people are limiting the use of their senses and as a result are losing their connection to themselves, their environment and their community. My solution would be to take 1-ton blocks of clay into schools, retirement homes, hospitals, prisons, learning centers and outreach programs across the country. I’d throw a party, inviting everyone to dig into the block and start creating whatever their heart desired. They could make and make and make until all of the clay was gone. The pieces would be set to dry in the sun, then slaked down and reclaimed to make another big block that would be taken somewhere else for someone else to play with. It would bring people together around an experience that is fun, immediate and life-affirming. 11

alwyn o’brien, Saltspring Island, BC, Canada
The contemporary ceramic object can be understood as a souvenir, a simultaneous overlay of our histories, our present and our presence.

I strive to create objects that embody a sense of the richness of time, memory, longing and loss. Our lives are stories formed of memory traces, the residue of our experiences, and I work from this source to capture and distill recollected sensations and images, evanescent feelings—the poetic and the ephemeral rendered fragile and concrete in clay. My current work amalgamates a range of historical ceramic forms and modes of surface decoration in order to explore the confluence of traditional craft techniques, industrial ceramic production and kitsch souvenirs. The imagery develops through a collision of technical processes: silk-screening, plaster transfer printing, drawing, painting, commercial and photographic decals, and multiple glaze firings. These
Pitcher of Yearning, 6½ in. (17 cm) in height, handbuilt and slip-cast porcelain, with silkscreened underglaze, mishima (inlay) and plaster transfer printing; fired to Cone 9 in oxidation, then to Cone 018 for decal and luster firing.

layers can be understood as accretions of histories, documents of the cultural and the natural environment in perpetual flux. These pots participate in a dialog with traditional ceramic practices where images and decorative motifs have historically functioned as an exchange of ideas between cultures. My desire is to investigate the voyaging modalities of historical and contemporary ceramic objects as migrating cultural vessels. I am interested in works of art that can comprehend a multiplicity of distinct elements—places, spaces, the real and the imaginary, emotion, documentation, woodlands and wastelands, narratives bridging the past and the present. The contemporary ceramic object can be understood as a souvenir, a simultaneous overlay of our histories, our present and our presence. 12

Patrick couGhlin, Gainesville, FL
The pragmatism of the functional vessel is a strong metaphor for a life as practical and humble as farming.

I was introduced to clay as an undergraduate painting major taking a studio elective at Syracuse University. As a painter I had become increasingly discouraged with process and critiques. I found my interest waning. It wasn’t until a simple moment, sitting in the wheel-throwing room, that I knew I had found something in ceramics. Poised over a greenhorn’s cylinder of irregularities, I was told for the first time that in my art making I was doing something wrong; boundaries and rules existed; everything was not subjective. I realized I am a craftsman first and artist second, albeit a close second. I immediately responded to the rules and boundaries of craftsmanship that functional ceramics hold as virtue. It was in limitation that I found freedom. I was once told that the best-laid plans are those most easily laid to waste. In a field with so many variables relying on the whims of economics, trends, expectations, location, etc., it is counterproductive to conjecture on what I will do or be. I find it considerably more

productive to prepare myself as best I can for opportunities that may be presented. Private studio artist, community art centers, teaching and residencies are all possibilities. Regardless, I will owe most of the credit to my family and scores in the community who humble me with their wit and generosity. All I feel confident in asking for is to continue to make, pay my bills on time and eat good food. If time and money were of no consequence, I can’t see much changing other than setting and equipment, I would spend considerably more time decorating, though. I certainly didn’t pick a career in ceramics with dreams of wealth and fame. Contemporary craftspeople are anachronisms, working in a society that often places little value in the handmade. Consequently, I feel choosing to be a craftsman is a political choice in opposition to our culture of disposable consumption, thus being a conscious decision to reject the importance of wealth.

Cups with Tray, 7 in. (18 cm) in height, earthenware with silkscreen image transfer, low fired. 13

Misty GaMble, Oakland, CA
These snapshot sculptures display my interest in questioning the perception of normalcy, morality and appropriateness, while examining human social behavior.

In 2001, I enrolled in a figure sculpture class at Oakland’s local art center. There I met Bud Kimbrell, who was instrumental in encouraging me to go on to graduate school and study ceramics. I had worked in clay as a young person, but my experience working with a model was very different. The clay, the figure, the model and me, we all clicked. There was a translation between what I saw in a three dimensional world, carried through my hands and the clay, into a clay object in front of me. It was magic. Practically self taught, I learned how to create life size figures in graduate school. The process by which I build challenges me. Considering how the figure will end, I work from the bottom to the top, building the inside and outside skin. I immerse myself both physically and mentally in a dance between the character that I’m building and myself. I’m currently a resident at Watershed Center for Ceramic Arts, after which I intend to travel back across the country to California and do another one-year residency, teach at a university, continue showing nationally and eventually have gallery representation. My long-term goal is to become a respected ceramic artist who contributes a new perspective to the field of ceramic sculpture. I also see myself guiding students in their own discovery of art making and meaning. I want to be remembered as someone who inspired others to create a vision and supported their drive to make it happen. In my present work, I employ the imagery of children. These life-size children are influenced by the study of sociopaths and horror films that deal with modern everyday insecurities. They live in a world where the line between adulthood and childhood is blurred. At once hideous and beautiful, sweet and terrifying, these free-willed children challenge our notion of innocence when they are presented with a chance to sin. With a lack of self-awareness or understanding of social norms, the child’s body expresses exaggerated emotional states. My work continues to be informed by my interests in issues surrounding femininity and set standards of normalcy, propriety and societal expectation.

Precious, 59 in. (1.5 m) in height, stoneware, bisque fired to Cone 01, then fired multiple times to Cone 06 with underglazes, stains and oxides. “Sexuality plays a role in Precious’ ability to empower herself,” explains Gamble. “She seduces and shows off, even though she is considered unattractive. Her toenails are not cut; her skin is not smooth; her nose is too big; her back is not straight; and she wears gloves to cover her ugly hands. She teases and uses sexuality as a weapon when confronted with danger. She wears frilly underwear and pretty gloves. The sin of pride is in her decision.” 14

JereMy brooks, Philadelphia, PA

I first became interested in ceramics through my sister, Melanie Brooks-Lukacs of Earthenwood Studio, who is a porcelain bead maker and jeweler. I would watch her work and was instantly drawn to the malleability of clay; how both tool and hand could so delicately shape it. These days, however, I find myself more interested in its fluidity; the character of slip and methodologies employing its flowing state with little to no hand work visible upon the crafted body. My professional aspirations currently lie in blending a career that would include practicing as a professional artist and teaching as a professional educator. Since earning my M.F.A. from Alfred University in 2007, I have been working as a resident artist at The Clay Studio in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. While I remain active in my studio, I

am currently looking to fulfill my aspirations toward the education of others. As I feel it is important for students in the arts to learn from active practitioners in the field, I am currently working on building my credentials and exhibition record to aid me in my scholarly pursuit. By the end of my residency, I hope to transition into academia, ushering the next generation of makers into the field. If time, money, and marketability were no object, I would like to see my (clay modeled) work at a much larger scale through the technology of CAD (computer assisted design) programming, CNC (computer numerical control) milling and rapid prototyping. Since my forming process places a restriction upon the scale of the work, I often wonder how the dynamic would translate from the miniature to the monumental.

The White Rabbit, 4 in. (10 cm) in height, porcelain with underglaze and fragrant paraffin wax. This figurine is infused with the aroma of freshly cut grass. 15