Guided in her ceramics studio by nature’s symmetrical and asymmetrical forms, artist Jennifer McCurdy works with inspiration from everyday objects, producing vessels that imitate natural specimens such as malformed conch shells and burst milkweed pods. Her sculptures are habitually one color, a white the same shade as the ocean’s surf. Keeping a very limited palette allows McCurdy to highlight the hollow areas of her pieces, casting shadows from her chiseled patterns.
“I use a translucent porcelain body because it has a beautiful surface, and it conveys the qualities of light and shadow that I wish to express,” said McCurdy in her artist statement. “After throwing my vessel on the potter’s wheel, I alter the form to set up a movement of soft shadow. When the porcelain is leather hard, I carve patterns to add energy and counterpoint. I fire my work to cone 10, where the porcelain becomes non-porous and translucent.”
McCurdy occasionally adds 23 carat gold leaf detail to the inside of her pieces, allowing them to glow from the inside. You can see more of her ocean-inspired vessels on her website, as well as within the pages of the book The New Age of Ceramics currently available in the Colossal Shop.
Merging botanical forms from England with the delicate plant shapes from her childhood in Japan, ceramic artist Hitomi Hosono produces delicate layered sculptures that appear as frozen floral arrangements. Often monochromatic, the works are focused on carved detail rather than color—repetition of form making each piece uniquely beautiful.
“The subjects of my current porcelain works are shapes inspired by leaves and flowers,” said Hosono in an artist statement. “I study botanical forms in the garden. I find myself drawn to the intricacy of plants, examining the veins of a leaf, how its edges are shaped, the layering of a flower’s petals. I look, I touch, I draw.”
Hosono’s plant-inspired works were recently exhibited with Adrian Sassoon gallery during The Salon Art + Design fair in NYC November 9-13, 2016. You can see more of her work on her website, as well as in the book The New Age of Ceramics currently available in the Colossal Shop. (via cfile.daily)
Jess Riva Cooper
Over the last few decades, artists working with ceramics have begun to push the medium in dramatic new directions, producing wildly innovative sculptures with a craft that’s existed almost as long as human civilization itself. No longer satisfied with traditional decorative vases or functional objects, these artists have embraced a wide variety of refreshing approaches that incorporate humor, environmental awareness, and an array of unusual techniques. Not only are they building things up, but also tearing them down, reducing objects to shards before repurposing the fragments, or pummeling their own creations into damaged permanence.
Nearly 40 such artists have been gathered into a new book out this week from Gingko Press titled The New Age of Ceramics by Hannah Stouffer. The publication includes 180 photos of in-process details, intimate studio visits, and final works from artists like Zemer Peled, Jessica Harrison, Jess Riva Cooper, Jon Alameda, Hitomi Hosono, and many others. The book release was accompanied by an exhibition at the Dave Frey Gallery that runs through December 9th, 2016.
“The tangibility of the material is something I feel really drawn to, and feel there is a great importance in sharing that, as we stray further from this connection to traditional mediums and become more invested with technology,” Stouffer shares with Colossal.
The New Age of Ceramics is now available in bookstores and through The Colossal Shop.
We continue to be amazing by ceramic artist Jon Almeda's (previously) incredibly tiny vessels thrown by hand on a miniature clay wheel. The variety of cups, vases, bowls, and other objects are so tiny they can perch on a fingertip or rest on a coin. Almeda has also been flexing his model-building skills by constructing 1/12th replicas of a kiln and ceramic wheel for use by an architect. You can see many videos of his works in progress on his wildly popular Instagram account.
Ceramic artist Tim Kowalczyk is drawn to objects of little material value—crushed tin cans, ripped up cardboard, and Polaroids that have been damaged during development. It is in these typical throw aways that he finds beauty, an attraction to the history embedded in their wrinkles and folds. To memorialize these items Kowalczyk creates their likeness in clay, creating works that look exactly like mugs haphazardly formed from cardboard with “Please Handle With Care” stickers still stuck to their sides.
“Ceramic’s ability to replicate any form, texture, or surface is what draws me to the material,” says Kowalczyk in his artist statement. “Replicating real objects out of ceramic material and putting them in a tableau is my version of writing a poem. I am able to sculpt, form, design, and construct sculptures with a sense of purpose, priority, and preciousness.”
The Illinois-based artist graduated with an MFA from Illinois State University in 2011, and is the adjunct Ceramics instructor at Illinois Central in East Peoria, IL. You can see more of his work on his website or at Companion Gallery where he is represented.
Madrid-based graphic designer and illustrator Irma Gruenholz (previously here and here), crafts her illustrations out of clay, turning the typically 2D medium on its head by creating brightly dressed figures in 3D environments. Gruenholz meticulously places and photographs each of the works, placing them in books, posters and advertisements. The artist is generous about letting her audience witness her process, snapping step-by-step images that outline actions such as making tiny sandals and arranging the hairs on a mermaid’s head.
This year, Gruenholz was shortlisted for the World Illustration Awards in London, and work is also included in the recent book “Alchemy: The Art and Craft of Illustration” now available in the Colossal Shop. You explore more of her ceramic illustration work on Behance and her website.