Posts tagged Ceramics
Combining Life-Drawing and Ceramics: Interview with Yurim Gough

Interview by Alicia Puig

I come from Korea, a country with a historic tradition of ceramics, where I was a fashion designer. By age 30, I had been designing high-heeled shoes for over ten years in Seoul then in Tokyo and London. I emigrated to England in 2007, the first time I had set foot outside Asia. Learning English from scratch and being influenced by the radical change in the culture I went back to being an artist, which was always my first calling. Starting with life drawing and experimenting with other media, I found myself drawn to my cultural roots in ceramics, mixing the two.

In 2013 I made bowls and sketched live models drawing directly onto the contoured surfaces, combining the organic hand-molded form of the bowl with the human form of the model. A couple of years later I began to add imagery to the pieces to extend the narratives that began with the poses, seeking inspiration from what I found captured in the drawings.

 In Asian culture bowls are philosophically connected with humanity; for example, in Korea, we might talk about how big a bowl you have in your mind, so the bowl is holding all your knowledge and experience. I mold the bowls in my hands, and I draw straight onto them, with no plan, never changing a line. My vases are like many bowls coming together inverted into sculptures. Drawing directly onto these with a life model, with a human in front of me, I can be led by their energy and afterward see what of human life can fit into a bowl. What I found drove me to use imagery on top to draw out stories imagined from the lives.

Yurim draws straight onto the surface of each piece. Life drawing in front of the living, breathing model joins the model's pose to the contoured surface of the piece. The lines from the model are communicated through the rough texture to the fired hand built stoneware with a ceramic pencil. The jagged lines soften under the glaze. For some pieces, imagery is overlaid on the drawings.


How did you first become interested in art and can you explain a bit of how it led you to the work you create today?

When I was six years old, my art teacher was surprised to see my paintings and made me participate in an art contest. Painting was the only stabilizer, because I was a little kid who couldn't concentrate. I tried to go to art school with a love of art, but I became a fashion designer. Being a designer was another pleasure for me. It's a process that allows the maker to understand the images of creative imagination through drawing. I'd always heard that my design drawing is more beautiful than the reality. When I first moved to England, I worked briefly as a designer again, but all the circumstances were better suited for art. So, after five years of experience with a new environment, culture, and experimenting with various other media, I fell in love with pottery for the first time.

The passion for life-drawing and my new interest in ceramics have combined, yet my passion for fashion still shows in my work.


Tell us about the inspiration behind your artwork or a specific series that you're currently working on.

I get inspiration from having a living human being in front of me. It's related to the idea of humanity, and I find that humanity can’t be felt without direct contact with humans. And so I find that the thrill of putting a human live model in front of me when I draw is captured in my work.

For me if it's not life-drawing, it's dead art.

I live and experience this world and express what I see in colour; in particular, my 10 years of fashion design experience and special interest in fashion are part of this new work. 


How did you end up working with ceramics as your primary medium and what is its significance for you and your art?

"What do I like and also want to do?"  This is the question that created a combination of life-drawing and ceramics, and I think it's really important for many artists to find the right materials first. I found the medium for me and that's ceramics. Ceramics is like a paper or canvas that holds my paintings. I've never had a formal education in pottery. Through my experience as a designer, I developed and analysed an understanding of the material and found that clay and pencil fit me. The failures that arise without formal education are a source of ideas for me ... in my works I can see both failure and success at once.


Describe your current studio or creative space. What is most important about it or one thing that you definitely need in your work area?

Creative space is really important to me. I can work without having my own kiln for my work, but without a studio my art would stop. My workspace is divided into two. It's a ‘brain space’ on one side and a ‘body space’ on the other. For me, balance is very important, just like our brains. In the brain space, all the planning, data and images are easily attached to the wall to make it easier to see. I plan and organize it just as when I used to work as a designer. 

In the physical space, I make and shape organic hand moulded bowls. It's the same process as meditation that cleans and empties my mind and soul. Then I have a life-drawing space in the middle. I go around the model and find the angle I want to draw. I work in a new studio less than a year old, and I feel it’s a little bit small already... I can see why studio spaces get bigger as artists grow.


What one piece of creative or business advice would you give to your younger self?

I think all the great artists have already told us.

I also took notes from their comments and put them on my wall.










Do you have any big collaborations, projects, exhibitions, etc going on during the rest of the year that you'd like to share?

I have a very exciting first solo exhibition, which runs from the 25th May until the 12th June 2019 in London at the Zari gallery.

I also open my studio space in the second and third weeks of July. Located in the centre of the Cambridge, UK.

My self-portrait has been selected and is exhibiting (Ruth Borchard Self Portrait Art Prize) at Piano Nobile, Kings Place in London until the end of September 2019.

Mother and Daughter, Lot Brandt and Sophie Holt, Ceramic Artists

Interview with Sophie Holt by Alicia Puig

Mother and daughter, second and third generation ceramic artists, are collaborating for the first time.

Our genes, our treasure, our commitment results in a sculptural collection called ‘SoLo’ Lot, who lives in The Netherlands, came to visit her daughter in Motueka, New Zealand for nine months. And those nine months they have been working together, almost every day, on a collection of sculptures.

I love clay. It is a pure and honest material. People used it centuries before me. When I see work created by long lost civilizations, sometimes thousands of years old, I feel connected, and amazed…the tendency to tell your story through a hunk of clay is so ancient.

Egbert Brandt taught me to be a ceramist. From 1981 to 1985 I attended the evening academy in Utrecht; modern oil painting techniques, anatomy, and portrait drawing. The urge to transform experiences into ceramic forms, my creative energy, for me, it is innate. To listen to my passion and act upon it, to continuously evolve, are my rewards.

It is beautiful and intense that my hands make that what I take in from the world around me and in me. Because I work from a space where words do not exist, it is difficult to find the right ones to accompany my work. 

It is wonderful when someone comes by and identifies. While you do not know one another, it suddenly creates an intimate connection. I once read; you are the connections that you make. This always remained with me. And in those moments, I feel it is true. 

Sophie has watched me work on the kitchen table from the age of 2, and it is very special to have been working together as mother and daughter each our person but together one, SoLo.


How did you first become interested in art, and can you explain a bit of how it led you to the work you create today?

S: I come from an artistic family. I have always been surrounded by art. My mother often took me to galleries and lucky for me, there are a lot of them in The Netherlands, where I grew up. What I love about art is that you can be free of what it means to you; the emotions you feel might not be the same as what someone else gets from the same piece.

I now live in New Zealand, the country where I was born, but I grew up in Utrecht, The Netherlands. Last year my mum came over for nine months so we could work together for the very first time. She taught me new techniques, and together we created 17 sculptures.


We love that your illustrations and ceramics are so colorful and fun. Can you tell us about what inspires you?

S: I always find that a difficult question to answer. I think because I’m not very good with words and expressing myself verbally I like to do this visually. So everything that happens around/inside me, the good and the bad, I use as inspiration.

Can you talk about some of your favorite works, and what makes them special to you?

S: What I loved about making these big sculptures is that they take a very long time to make. That feeling when you open your kiln and everything is still in one piece- is one of the best feelings you can get. It was a new experience for me.

And what makes the sculptures even more special is that it was a collaboration with my mother, creating together in one room for those months was very special. I hope there will be a lot more of that in the future.


Describe your current studio or creative space. What is most important about it or one thing that you definitely need in your work area?

S: At the moment I am working in the extra bedroom of my house.

What I need is good light, a good seat, and a table. And I work best listening to podcasts or have a documentary going in the background. I’ve always been like that, even in high school, I was always drawing while the teachers were talking to the class.


What one piece of creative or business advice would you give to your younger self?

Don’t undersell yourself. And to my creative younger self- don’t freak out if you have a creative block. It will come back eventually.


Do you have any big collaborations, projects, exhibitions, etc. going on during the rest of the year that you'd like to share?

We will exhibit all the sculptures we made at the Quiet Dog Gallery in Nelson, New Zealand. This will happen very soon- this coming July!

Hidden Nature: Interview with Darko Vuckovic
Talent is a good advantage, but it brings us to our goal only if nurtured through constant work.

Vuckovic was born in Podgorica, Montenegro and graduated from Faculty of Fine Arts in Cetinje in 2001, in the class of professor Dragan Karadzic, painting department.

From 1999 to 2000, he attended L’ecole Superrieure d’Art du Grenoble, France, where he started to experiment in computer-generated imagery, photography and experimental sound.

In 2012, he completed specialized studies, painting department, at the Faculty of Fine Arts in Belgrade, in the class of professor Zoran Vukovic. He has been a member of ULUCG (Association of visual artists of Montenegro) since 2002.


The Heraldry of Nature (Imprints and Traces)

Every shape in the visible nature, the smallest as well as the biggest, is revealed as harmony. 

The Māori from Polynesia had the word “mana” for expressing the unity of things, the strong feeling that life is a unity in which not only gods, people and all living things partake, but also things that to us seem dead. “Mana” thus represents an immediate experience of the “sacred force that permeates life”. All of their art is filled with spirals as visual displays of the force. They were engraved into wood and stone, painted, or even tattooed on the body. One can find identical spiral motives in many other parts of the world, some originating from prehistoric times.

In nature we find the spiral movement in the structure of the DNA molecule, as well as in the spiral galaxies. The “murmur” of the cosmos is expressed through shape, just as fine sand placed on a string instrument makes precise geometric shapes when one plays a tone.

György Doczi, a Hungarian architect from the early 20th century, discovered the same mathematical laws at the basis of architecture, the elements of landscape, the anatomy of humans, animals and plants, the tone scale, the rhythm in poetry, prompting him to introduce the concept of a dynergic pattern“.

The displayed works have a common thread. They represent different imprints of the universal energy flow, which is visible just partly. This energy weaves tirelessly behind the curtain of the material world, maintaining it and driving it. The idea once obsessed J. W. Goethe (Essay on the plant), and later Rudolf Steiner when he speaks about the active spiritual reality, deeming it the cause of what we perceive with our outer senses. The wide field of his work and his views had a profound impact on art: the works of Kandinsky, and later Joseph Beuys, among others.

Occasionally, the hidden, dynamical and changeable nature finds its artistic expression and displays itself in physical form. That is why I consider myself only as a formal author of these works.


When and how were you first introduced to working with ceramics?

I started doing ceramics about ten years ago. Considering I received a degree in painting, the main techniques of my artistic expression were drawing, painting, photo collages. A set of circumstance led to my sharing a studio with some sculptors. This was a decisive factor for my gradual shift to ceramics and getting to know its secrets. Ceramics enabled me to add a third dimension to the visual images I created. I was and still am fascinated by the possibilities it offers, which are practically inexhaustible.


What inspires your work?

Inspiration is something that is in my case spontaneous, which arrives the moment I start communicating with the material, in this case with clay.

There are certain conditions that have a positive effect on achieving a required state of sensitivity when creativity can be expressed in the proper way.

Frequent trips to nature contribute to this state. The rhythms of nature and its changes are somewhat similar to the rhythms of the forms I create. My forms are organic and changeable, almost natural.


What is your process like when you start a new sculpture?

In most cases, I don’t have a clear idea and plan about what I wish to accomplish because I want to leave open the possibility of a surprise.

I allow the forms to change by their own inner rhythm and impulse. This is probably the main reasons why the technique has been holding my interest for so long. Later, after the first round of baking clay, some additional effects are made with texture and glaze, making it even more interesting. Sculptures are often baked multiple times in a row until the desired effect is achieved.

Below is the link for my short film on clay and an ancient method of sculpture making. The film was screened at the AVI Fest - Short Film Festival 2017, where it won the first prize.


Who are some artists that inspire you?

It used to be Hieronymus Bosch and Flemish painters. Afterward, surrealists like Max Ernst, the metaphysical painter Giorgio de Chirico, but also M.C. Escher.

As for sculptures, I am most fascinated by the sculptures by Joan Miro and some works by Joseph Beuys.

These are the artists whose work always leaves an impression on me.


What has been the most challenging aspect of your career thus far? How did you overcome it?

The greatest challenge is persisting in doing what one loves. It isn’t always easy. It means not compromising what one considers truly worthy of doing. Like the moment I left my steady office job as a graphic designer so I would have more time for my artwork. It often means entering a zone of economic instability. These decisions bring many questions, doubts, and dwellings, and one needs to learn how to cope with that. It becomes easier as time goes by.


What would you say your greatest strength is as an artist?

For me, art is something that gives meaning even at times when we cannot find it in our surrounding, in the outer world. The fact itself is encouraging and gives strength and motivation. For me, that is enough.


Do you have a piece of advice you have received that you would like to share with our readers?

There is good advice in the tale about Aladdin. It says that if you rub the lamp long enough, a genie will appear. The lamp represents us and our unnurtured talents. This means that if we are persistent and focused, results are inevitable. Talent is a good advantage, but it brings us to our goal only if nurtured through constant work.

Feminist Ceramics: Podcast Interview with Jen Dwyer

On this episode of Art and Cocktails, Kat interviews Jen and learns about her creative journey, the inspiration behind her latest ceramics and her upcoming exhibition in NYC. Kat and Jen chat about overcoming creative fear, taking risks and self care. 

Jen Dwyer is a ceramicist artist who makes socially engaged ceramic sculptures and functional art objects. 

Upcoming Exhibitions: 

Not For Your Bunny, Lucas Lucas Gallery, opening Oct 18 6-9pm (On view through Nov 18, 2018). Co-curated by Stacie Lucas and Nathalie Levey.

Femme, Juxtapoz at the new brick and mortar gallery and bookstore in Jersey City (March 1st, 2019)


Mo Cornelisse

The work of ceramicist Mo Cornelisse consists of unique pieces mostly in porcelain combined with gold. With love for the traditional craft, but a strong interest in modern techniques, her sculptural artworks are focused on shape and material. Her minimalist and often monochromatic three-dimensional pieces are distinguished by form and simplicity. Mo is the first ceramicist to make porcelain portraits using the latest 3D techniques. Her wall objects are reminiscent of light reflections and she is also known for her melting vases. Lately Mo has been working on a series of wall carpets created in porcelain and gold, but is also beginning to branch out to make them with different materials.

Follow her on Instagram @mocornelisse

Susannah Montague

Susannah Montague was born in Peterborough, England and emigrated to Canada with her family when she was five years old. She graduated from Emily Carr University of Art and Design in 1996. She was also educated at the Ontario University of Art and Design and the Vancouver Film School. 

In 1996 the B.C. Ceramic Gallery awarded the artist studio space and kilns for one year as Top Emerging Ceramic Artist. 

During the next several years Susannah was involved in many Art Installations and design projects for Public spaces, night clubs, and restaurants in Vancouver, such as Shine, Lotus Sound Lounge, Ballantyne's and "C-Level Bar" for Norwegian Cruise Lines to name a few. 

In 1999, Susannah was selected as one of 30 founding artists for the C.O.R.E Artist Live Work Studios and she made this her studio and home. 

That same year Susannah also became a member of the International Alliance of Theatrical Stage Employees (I.A.T.S.E.) in the departments Sculpture, Prop Building. Susannah maintained this membership until 2009 and this gave the Artist the opportunity to work in sculpture on many major films such as the X-Men series and Night at the Museum

Working in film allowed Susannah to finance work on her personal sculpture projects and in 2005 Susannah was the recipient of a Canada Council Arts Grant. The grant was an honour that allowed her to dive into a series of ceramic sculptures building and studying the sphere. 

In 2007 Susannah and her husband moved to Bowen Island where she works full-time in her studio as a ceramic sculptor. Her and her husband’s life changed significantly in 2009 with the birth of twins. The artist now finds herself drawn to different themes particularly her perceptions of life, death and growth.


Susannah Montague is a British-Canadian ceramic sculptor who lives on an island off of the wild West Coast of Canada with her husband, two children, and a tutu-wearing terrier. 

Montague’s art is as humorous as it is subversive. Her pieces are a daydream in clay, wryly communicating the intransience of the human condition with a wink and a nudge. Stepping into her studio is like discovering an Eighteenth-Century Cabinet of Curiosity. Her art is a collection of shamanistic characters which imbibe the peculiar, scientific and mythical qualities involved in creation. Rollicking, cherubic figures wearing masks and antlers frolic among symbols of decay, in a world that is equal parts shadowy and lighthearted. Her lively sculptures are an amalgam of animal, human and object. Combined, the images evoke a whimsical narrative of folk tales, childhood fantasies, dreams, and nightmares. 

The artist draws on her deeply personal history to reference fertility and childbirth, using babies, blastocysts, and vanitas symbolism to convey a frenetic celebration of the divine comedy of existence. There is a precarious balance in her work between life and death, creation and destruction, innocence and corruption. The artist states, “These characters know much more than they let on.” Each individual sculpture is an island of ideas, a cluster of creative life-force/death-drive, and a barge of becoming. 

Montague’s medium is also her message. It’s fitting that her raw material is clay, taken from the earth, lovingly molded, fired, and finally made into deliciously delicate porcelain that will—inevitably—return to the earth. Ashes to ashes. This cyclical perception of time is enhanced by her rediscovery of a forgotten art medium, bursting with the floral blooms of a porcelain past and decorated with all the excesses of a lost century. Even as it is born, each piece has somehow curiously already died away. 

Ultimately, viewing a Susannah Montague piece is a bit like falling down a rabbit hole, and feeling in turns terrified and utterly charmed. 

Ron Geibel

Ron Geibel (b.1985) received a BFA from Edinboro University of Pennsylvania and a MFA from the University of Montana. Geibel has exhibited his work in Canada and throughout the United States, including the New York Ceramics and Glass Fair, NYC; Indianapolis Art Center, Indianapolis; Houston Center for Contemporary Craft, Houston; and Manifest Gallery in Cincinnati. He has been an artist in residence at the Clay Art Center in Port Chester, NY; The Chautauqua Institution in Chautauqua, NY; and the Northern Clay Center in Minneapolis, MN. Ceramics Monthly Magazine recognized Geibel as an emerging artist in 2015. Currently, he is a Visiting Assistant Professor of Art at Southwestern University in Georgetown, TX. 


I explore the intersection of the public and private sphere and question our awareness of self and of others. 

My conceptual framework stems from co-opted by artists during the 1980’s AIDS epidemic. Their use of traditional mass marketing tools such as billboards, neon signs, and marquees utilized a familiar format to expose a poignant message. Colorful, candy-coated sweet treats and their irresistible deliciousness toy with the notion that temptation and desire allow us to be drawn to what we don’t even realize is present. 

The use of multiples obscures the sexual references that influence the sculptures I create. I initiate dialogue concerning sexuality, gender, and identity by crafting objects that are drenched in color and laced with playful humor that reference the so-called, private parts of people lives.

"Reading Between the Lines" at Hashimoto Contemporary

SAN FRANCISCO - Hashimoto Contemporary is pleased to present Reading Between the Lines, a group show curated by Anna Valdez. The exhibition features a dynamic roster of artists from the Bay Area and beyond, each connected through their work’s emblematic nature.

Reading Between the Lines surveys the contemporary artist’s use of language and symbol systems in their work to convey a particular way of seeing. Whether referencing the domestic space, the figure or through process driven work, each of these artists reference cultural ideologies to connect the viewer to their particular experiences of art production.


Alexis Arnold, Jonathan Chapline, Andy Decola, Leah Guadagnoli, Catherine Haggarty, Cathy Lu, Dan Perkins, Emil Robinson, Kaley Flowers, Meghan Jean Kinder, Paul Gagner, Polly Allison Shindler, Steven Vasquez Lopez, Sharona Eliassaft.

Please join us for Reading Between the Lines, opening Saturday, April 7 with an evening reception from 6pm - 9pm. The exhibition will be on view through April 28. For more information, additional images, or exclusive content, please email us at

804 Sutter Street, San Francisco, CA 94109 • • (415) 655-9265

Hashimoto Contemporary 804 Sutter Street
San Francisco, CA 94109

Opening night reception: Saturday, April 7, 6pm-9pm Show on view through Saturday, April 28


Hashimoto Contemporary is located in San Francisco, CA. Our roster consists of an eclectic blend of new contemporary artists. With monthly rotating exhibitions, our programming focuses on a range of painting, sculpture and installation-based work. You can also visit us at a variety of international art fairs in Miami, New York, San Francisco and Los Angeles.


As a visual artist with an academic background in anthropology, and video, Anna Valdez views artists as cultural producers. In her work, she attempts to combine these practices into a specific investigation that cultivates not only personal identity, but also cultural meaning.

She received her MFA in painting from Boston University in 2013. Her work has been exhibited in museums and galleries across the United States and Canada.

Lorien Stern at Hashimoto Contemporary

SAN FRANCISCO - Hashimoto Contemporary is pleased to present Chums, a solo exhibition by Lorien Stern. The artist will debut a new series of ceramics that highlight the unlikely friendship between sharks and their more docile counterparts.

Lorien Stern’s work is highly celebrated for its playful approach to both lighthearted and menacing subjects. The artist has created her own universe of whimsical characters, each varying in form and palate. Working within sculpture, painting and textile, Stern’s work is instantly recognizable for its vibrant levity.

Chums focuses on the seemingly dubious relationships between sharks and other maritime creatures. The exhibition features a colorful assortment of the artist’s iconic shark heads as well as an array of fish and birds. Stern is particularly interested in the mutually beneficial friendship between pilot fish and sharks. Swimming alongside one another, the fish gain protection from predators, while the shark gains freedom from parasites. In response, the artist created every piece in the exhibition to have a counterpart — each work matches to another through pattern and color. Transcending species and trepidation, Chums celebrates the power of connection.

Please join us for Chums, opening Saturday, February 3, with an evening reception from 6pm-9pm, where the artist will be in attendance. This exhibition will be on view through Saturday, February 24. For more information, additional images, or exclusive content, please email us at

804 Sutter Street, San Francisco, CA 94109 • • (415) 655-9265

Lorien Stern: “Chums” - a solo exhibition

Hashimoto Contemporary 804 Sutter Street
San Francisco, CA 94109

Opening night reception: Saturday, February 3, 6pm-9pm Show on view through Saturday, February 24


Hashimoto Contemporary is located in San Francisco, CA. Our roster consists of an eclectic blend of new contemporary artists. With monthly rotating exhibitions, our programming focuses on a range of painting, sculpture and installation-based work. You can also visit us at a variety of international art fairs in Miami, New York, San Francisco and Los Angeles.


Lorien Stern is an artist working in California. She received her BFA from California College of the Arts in 2013 where she studied painting and ceramics. She is currently living in the North Western corner of the Mojave Desert in a small town called Inyokern.

Interview: Jen Dwyer

I grew up in Northern California. After high school, I attended University of Washington, where I studied science and art. After graduating, I moved to Brooklyn New York to pursue art. I am a practicing artist working primarily in ceramic art. 



Our current political and social climate is arguably the most divisive or turbulent period that anyone of my generation or younger has ever experienced in this country. With the past election, it was and continues to be hard to listen to the news, open a social media app, or even listen to a podcast without hearing strong discourse. My making comes from reflecting on this polarized time.

My most recent works, Current Mood and Nasty Woman Tiles, were created in response to President Elect bragging about grabbing women by the genitalia in an Access Hollywood tape recorded in 2005. He responded to this video by calling it “locker room banter”. It's important not to let our new president’s hate speech become normalized. I added subtle individualization of each tile by showcasing each person's unique handwriting and installing each tile at the specific pelvic height that person.

Now more than ever, people are open to dialogue on issues thought to be subjects once left unspoken. My porcelain boxing gloves and knuckles are a part of a series Objects of Mass Production. The works were created earlier this year in response to our current administration and the unknown decisions they will make.

Lastly, my two porcelains of Venus of Willendorf holding a pager, cell phone, and edible objects were created as good luck charms in this time of so much uncertainty. Now more than ever, people are open to dialogue on issues thought to be subjects once left unspoken, my work is created in response to these conversations or feelings.

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Were you always interested in ceramics? Tell us about your journey as an artist.

Early on I fell in love with clay, I had a really incredible high school art teacher that gave me a lot of freedom to play and explore. In college I proceeded to explore ceramics as well as environmental science. I’ve always been interested in a multitude of things, I think that’s why I love art, because I can investigate, research and explore all of my interests through my practice. I was also always a creative kid but once I began college I started applying concepts to my making. The history of ceramics is so broad and from a technical standpoint, there is always more to learn. The material is also full of contradictions. Porcelain in particular has a very interesting history in regards to Imperial Europe. It was once seen as the highest taste of the royal court and then later pushed aside for being overly decorative, or rather feminine. I also love the tactileness of clay, in the postdigital age avoiding my computer and playing with clay is really all I want to do.

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What inspired your pieces that explore the female figure?

A Jill Soloway quote that really resonates with my and speaks to why I love the femme figure so much is “art is propaganda for the self”. My work has always expressed my lived experiences, complemented with research of contemporary and historical issues, so inevitability the femme figure, or parts of the body play a role in my work. I also think it’s so interesting that one of the first art objects know to us is a ceramic fertility goddess. Although no one knows for sure what/ why Venus of Willendorf or any of the other ancient figurines were created, one of theories is that they were thought to be self portraits, which I just love. Perhaps the Venus of Willendorf was the original depiction of the female gaze.


There is a beautiful element of play in your work. How important is this to your practice?

There is this age old trope that I want to resist in my work that ‘the artist’ has to be this serious cowboy that can only create in an altered state of agony. That being said I do have a pretty dedicated studio practice that isn’t always fun, it can be a challenging to get into the studio everyday and it’s definitely hard work. But it’s work that I really enjoy. Plus if I wasn't creating I’m not sure what else I would do. Not to say I don’t love it, but I don’t know really know what I would be without art. Even as a young kid my mom created a small art studio for my sibling and I, who is also an artist. It’s kind of all I know. However most of my work tries to deconstruct value structures, and I do think playful, colorful, femme artwork is taken less seriously. I am interested in challenging those preconceived notions.

What is your studio time like? What do you think about when working? Describe a typical day.

I’m currently pursing my MFA at University of Notre Dame so my day is structured around academia but I still retain a solid studio practice. I wake up teach an undergraduate ceramic class for two hours in the morning or go to my art history class, work in my studio for 5 hours, go for a run, work in my studio for another 5-7 hours go home read/ research and repeat. I’ve noticed this past year I’ve become a bit of a recluse in the studio, I’m definitely trying to be more self aware of that thinking ahead to twenty eighteen. I want to carve out more time for self care and friends are definitely going to be more of a priority next year.

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How do you overcome creative blocks and recharge?

There are many things I’m not good at, but I don’t really know how to not create. If I’m ever feeling overwhelmed with a body of work and find I need a break from it, I will usually work on another series that is less heavy on research. For example right now I am working on two different bodies of work, Constructed Paradise, that is a compilation of imaginary plants and ancient venus figurines. This work doesn’t take much planning and I work rather intuitively to create it. However the other body of work I’m in the middle of is Blind Spot, is about reclaiming the female gaze and decentering the divide between self and other. This work was inspired by contemporary and historical issues related to the objectification and value of femme bodies. It’s nice to have a more light hearted series of work to dip my toe in and out of while creating work about something I’m really passionate about.

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What advice would you give artists that are starting out for finding their voice but not being afraid to take risks?

I would say take all the risks at first. I’m really introverted and can be really self conscious about putting myself out there, I find it’s really helpful to pretend like no one is watching and try everything. I’ve also found listening to your intuition to be one of the most important parts of art (despite what they teach you in academia ;). I’ve also found everything comes in time. So my advice would be work really hard, try everything and be really patient. For example I’ve always been a feminist and a ceramicist but now it seems they are both rather trendy. It’s nice to have recognition but I think if you only create for recognition it will be very disheartening and probably not very fulfilling. I’ve had the most success with my work as soon as I started creating art about things I really care about. It’s hard to not want to make work that you think people will like, but if you’re able to make work that feels most true to your interests, I think that will benefit you in the long run. Otherwise I would image it would feel like you’re always chasing something unattainable.


What are you currently working on?

Oh too many things, I have three pots in the fire right now. My main focus is a body of work I started this fall, Blind Spot . This series of work explores the objectification and commodification of women’s bodies. I’m currently reading Staying with the Troubl e by Donna J. Haraway, and she really highlights the ways everything can be turned into a product, women’s bodies, nature, etc. Similar to women’s bodies, porcelain has a long history of being exoticized, for example in Imperial Europe it used to be called white gold because it was more valuable than gold. This work is inspired by Rococo porcelain objects that once were more valuable than gold however now are seen as decorative, kitsch, and feminine. Food is also beginning to play a large role in my work. I find it’s also tied to femininity and consumption. For example a model holding or sitting next to an edible product begs the question which one is the object for consumption. Over all this body of work is in response to the depressing treatment of women and girls in the world, but particularly now at this moment in time in the US.

I’m also working on another body of work Constructed Paradise that is a little bit more playful. This work is a reflection of a time of so much uncertainty and how we deal with that fear. These wonky imaginary plants and ancient venus amulets are meant to be a fictitious refuge or mirage for escape, and/ or a good luck charm to carry around during the day. This body of work is kind of my go to when I’m feeling a little overwhelmed with the state of everything. Although art is certainly a refuge to express frustrations and I do think it can help lead to social change, it can be depressing to spend all my time researching and reflecting on these issues, therefore my constructed paradise series is a fun repreve.

I also have a little functional art side project, JED Ceramics . It’s helpful it make and sell functional art objects to help offset the costs of larger sculptures ;)

Studio Sundays: Susannah Montague

On this week's Studio Sundays feature we explore the intricate ceramic work of Canadian artist Susannah Montague.

Susannah received her BFA from Emily Carr University of Art and Design in the sculpture department. She also attended the Ontario University of Art and Design where she specialized in figurative work and anatomy and studied at the Vancouver Film School.

In 1996 the BC Ceramic Gallery recognized Susannah as the Top Emerging Ceramic Artist in British Columbia and awarded her studio space for the year.

Susannah developed her sculptural work and exhibited and sold her work in Vancouver and Los Angeles. Susannah was also involved in many Interior Design and Art Installations for major night clubs  and restaurants in Vancouver.

Kate Klingbeil 

I make objects and paintings that celebrate movement, intimacy and emotional intelligence. The work is figurative and feminist, investigating a humanity that blooms and dies again every day. I tell myself that I should always search for pleasure, so I make ceramics to honor the sometimes mundane and sometimes ridiculous moments of daily existence. 

Kate Klingbeil (b. 1990) is an artist currently living and working in Brooklyn, NY. She graduated in 2012 from California College of the Arts with a BFA in Printmaking, and has since attended residencies at ACRE and Kala Art Institute. She has shown across the US at Andrew Rafacz Gallery (Chicago), Athen B. Gallery (Oakland), Hashimoto (SF) Harpy Gallery (N.J.) and had a solo show February 2017 at Crush Curatorial (NYC). 

Victoria Rose Martin 

My work is a reflection of life. The pieces are memories of people, places and things I have known. In the small faces, I can see members of my family, people I once knew, and even myself. The work tends to be whimsical with a slightly dark under current. My sculptural forms are hand built using lowfire clay. My art is collected both nationally and internationally. It’s in the permanent collection of the Cafesjian Center for the Arts, Armenia. I’ve shown my work at SDC London, England Pence Gallery,

Davis, CA, the Clay Studio, Philadelphia, PA, the Florida Craftsmen, St Petersburg, FL, and the Piedmont Craftsmen, Winston-Salem, NC. My sculptural work has appeared in the books/publications: Doll Master (Russia), Ceramics Ireland, The Art of the Contemporary Doll, 500 Figures in Clay, The Ceramic Design Book, 500 Handmade Dolls, and Art Doll Quarterly.

I am a full time Professor 1 and Department Chair for Fine Art and Graphic Design at Palm Beach State College, Lake Worth where I teach both fine art and graphic design courses. I have earned two separate Master’s of Fine Art in Ceramics and Printmaking and earned a Summa Cum Laude B.F.A in Graphic Design and Illustration from the University of Miami. My students have won international awards for their work.

During the summer you will find me sketching in several of the great museums of Europe because travel is my other passion. The past few years I have visited: The Louvre, The British Museum, The Reina Sofia, The Van Gogh, The Rijksmuseum Museum, The Hermitage, The National Museum of Scotland, The National Portrait Gallery, The Tate Modern, Britain, and Liverpool to mention a few.

Pansy Ass Ceramics

We are Andy Walker and Kris Aaron, Artist duo and couple specializing in ceramics in Toronto, Canada. We have been working together on Pansy Ass since the summer of 2015. 


In our work we use the aesthetics of 50s and 60s kitsch to create new tchotchkes that speak to queer culture. We use the medium to create campy objects that reflect non-normative sexualities and identities. We hope that our work provides opportunities for people to create spaces that reflect their identity and can be used as symbols of pride. 

Andrew Hoeppner

Andrew Hoeppner is a local Seattle based artist. Originally born in California, Andrew received his BFA from Sierra Nevada College in 2011. He then pursued post-baccalaureate studies at the University of Montana. During this time he completed an internship with the ceramics department, an international residency at Medalta in Alberta, Canada, and received the Montana Museum of Art and Culture purchase award. In 2014 Andrew graduated with his Masters in Fine Art in Sculpture from Seattle’s University of Washington 3D4M program. There he received the Mary Kay McCaw Arts Fellowship and was nominated for the Teaching With Excellence Award. Post graduation Andrew pursued an international residency in Vallauris, France with a travel grant from Pottery Northwest. Most recently Andrew completed a two-year term residency with Pottery Northwest. During his time at Pottery, Northwest Andrew received a 2016 Fellowship award and a 2015 Project Grant (GAP) Award from Artist Trust. 


My approach to making art is one that continuously evolves and redefines itself. The work is cyclical in nature as it is a direct reflection of my interests and experiences. Making, play, impulse, humor, and the constant battle of success and failure are the threads that connect each body of work. I use ceramics to explore the physicality of my relationship to the world, as an offering of myself, and how I co-exist daily. 

I am fascinated by Gauguin’s notion of fleeting society to find meaning in a “savage” and “primitive” lifestyle. This act of separating oneself from civilization in search of a “true” vision reflects our modern desire to escape our unavoidable banalities in search of something timeless, and tangible. My work often reflects these desires to investigate artistic identity, place, and conventions. Yet it remains sculptural in the classic and most noble sense: an object, an image, a thing that illustrates the ever-shifting actions of the world around it, and its creator. 

The idea of craftwork and the pleasure of physical making are nearly radical now, as we shift deeper into the age of technology. I believe it is our longing for direct experiences which drives artisans to continue critiquing the importance of long prevailing polarities such as tradition versus modernity, art versus design, and craft versus high art. It is within my disciplinary practice where I continue to analyze the ceramic process and the borders in which its medium is defined.