ceramics

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Craft

Mottled, Marbled, and Speckled Glazes Ooze Over Ceramic Vessels in Thick Pastel Drips

September 27, 2022

Grace Ebert

All images © Brian Giniewski, shared with permission

Philadelphia-based ceramicist Brian Giniewski (previously) is behind the playfully textured vessels known as Drippy Pots. Referencing a melty summertime ice cream cone or icing on a cake, the glossy material in mottled pastels, speckles, or single colors trickle down the exterior of mugs and cups. To contrast the neutral-toned earthenware of the base vessels, Giniewski throws simple shapes and then dunks the functional objects into a thick glaze.

The ceramicist recently restocked the Drippy Pots shop and also started wholesaling with SSENSE. You can peer into his process and follow updates on future releases on Instagram.

 

 

 

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Art Craft History

A New Book Explores the Practices of 38 Black Ceramicists Working Across Generations to Define the Medium

September 15, 2022

Grace Ebert

Morel Doucet, “Skin Congregate on the Eve of Every Mountain” (2019), slip-cast porcelain with decals. Photo by David Gary Lloyd, courtesy of the artist and Galerie Myrtis

Ceramics is both versatile and enduring, allowing for myriad aesthetic sensibilities, degrees of functionality, and the ability to last lifetimes. A new book published by Schiffer Craft gathers the practices of 38 Black Americans who have harnessed the broad potential of clay as they explore various aspects of history, politics, craft, and culture.

Ranging from the colonial east coast and the Harlem Renaissance to the current century, Contemporary Black American Ceramic Artists compiles interviews, photos, and short essays into an expansive, diverse survey. In addition to artists working today like Morel Doucet (previously), Chotsani Elaine Dean, and Danielle Carelock, the book also recounts earlier generations who used the medium as a catalyst for their creative practices. Augusta Savage (1892-1962), for example, is known for translating the humanity of her subjects into figurative clay forms. She also went on to found the Savage Studio for Arts and Crafts in 1930s New York and helped secure funding for her students as part of the Works Progress Administration.

The book also recognizes the contributions of nearly 200 ceramicists who were enslaved and working in commercial potteries in Edgefield, South Carolina. Among those is David Drake, who is thought to have produced more than 100,000 stoneware vessels throughout his lifetime.

Contemporary Black American Ceramic Artists, written by donald a clark and Chotsani Elaine Dean, is currently available for pre-order on Bookshop.

 

Morel Doucet. Image © David Gary Lloyd

Paul S. Briggs, “Double Cuttle” (2011), stoneware, glaze, 12 inches. Photo courtesy of the artist

Chotsani Elaine Dean, “Plantation Sugar Jar: ‘for Chloe Spears’ (1750-1815),” (2019), porcelain and paper clay, 5.5 x 3.5 x 3.75 inches. Photo courtesy of the artist

Danielle Carelock, “Foliage Mugs,” earthenware, hand-painted luster overglaze, 2 × 4 inches. Photo courtesy of Saltstone Ceramics

Keith Wallace Smith, “Dream Dancer” (2009), porcelain, terra-cotta, and rope, 21 × 13 × 17 inches. Photo courtesy of the artist

 

 



Art Craft

Ancient Design Motifs Meet Contemporary Ceramics in Maxwell Mustardo’s Glowing Sculptures

September 14, 2022

Kate Mothes

All images © Maxwell Mustardo, shared with permission, courtesy of Culture Object and Jody Kivort

Gadrooning, an ornamental motif consisting of a series of tapered convex or concave curves, is derived from the decorative exteriors of Roman sarcophagi and antiquities. Renaissance artisans revisited it in the 16th century, and it re-emerged in the neoclassical revival of the 18th and 19th centuries. Referencing ancient designs and what he describes in a statement as the “broad, reverential notions of the vessel,” Maxwell Mustardo playfully examines the function of containers and earthenware over time.

In his gourd-like Gadroons and pudgy Anthropophorae—a series of bulging amphorae—a range of stippled lava glazes complement shocking hues or shimmering PVC coatings. Vibrant colors and swollen forms resemble balloons or 3D renderings displayed on a bright screen, and the resulting perception-bending, flocked-like surfaces make the pieces appear to be floating, wobbling, and glowing.

You can see Mustardo’s work at Culture Object through October 28 in a solo exhibition titled The Substance of Style. More information can also be found on his website and Instagram.

 

 

 



Craft

Several Layers of Glaze Finish Mia Alajasko’s Ceramic Octopuses with Colorful Textures

August 29, 2022

Grace Ebert

All images © Mia Alajasko, shared with permission

Tentacles speckled with glaze and bulbous suckers support the bodies of Mia Alajasko’s ceramic mollusks. From her backyard workshop in Onsala, Sweden, the artist sculpts squids and octopuses that stand upwards of 40 centimeters. Each creature is cloaked in several layers of glaze that produce a diverse array of finishes from classic matte white and neutral-toned crackles to sleek rust and mottled shades of blue.

Alajasko makes about a dozen pieces each month, and her next shop release is on September 28. Keep an eye on her Instagram for updates.

 

 

 



Art Craft

Ceramic Rings Link Nature and Community in Cecil Kemperink’s Elaborate Moveable Sculptures

August 23, 2022

Kate Mothes

“Earth Song.” All images © Cecil Kemperink, shared with permission. Photo by Marja Sterck

Constant motion and transformation underpin ceramic artist Cecil Kemperink’s philosophy, drawing inspiration from the rhythms of nature. Since 2019, she has lived on Texel, an island north of The Netherlands in the Wadden Sea that’s recognized by UNESCO as the largest continuous, undisturbed intertidal ecosystem in the world. The infinite crashing of waves on the shore, grasses or branches waving in the wind, and the way humans interact with these phenomena inspire the artist’s linked, organic pieces that combine sculpture with performance (previously). Her work centers on a sense of connectedness, both ecological and within our communities, that manifests symbolically in the form of links that expand and contract like ceramic chainmail.

Intended to be manipulated and reshaped, each ring is looped to others to create a robust yet delicate fabric that the artist can move around on the floor, suspend from the ceiling, or wear. “Motion is a key part of the expressiveness of my sculptures,” she explains. “The movements show the importance of each circle. Every ring is essential and influences the other; they are all connected. They are all one. Every link wears the symbolism of a circle: conjunction, connection, power, endlessness, an eternally ongoing movement.” In some works, the components vary in size and can be expanded or contracted, while in others, such as “White grey tones,” they are closely connected and emphasize the circular form.

Kemperink’s sculptures bear a significant literal and metaphoric weight: when a piece is worn or carried, there is a strong awareness of its presence, responsibility for its care, and occasionally, the burden of carrying it. Characteristically, there’s also duality in the works’ being both malleable and taut. “The interaction of sculpture and woman/man opens several layers of consciousness,” she explains, as “each relation reveals new sensations, change of feelings, and a different energy. New perceptions are being shaped, multiple points of view arise, and consciousness is in full motion.”

Kemperink’s work “Wishful thinking” is included in the International Academy of Ceramics’ 70th-anniversary member’s exhibition in Geneva, Switzerland, from September 12 to 16. She has also recently started a YouTube channel, and you can find more of her work on her website and Instagram.

 

“Secrets.” Photo by Marja Sterck

“Something sweet in the wind”

Left: “Shaping perception 3.” Right: “Wishful thinking.” Photos by Marja Sterck

“White grey tones”

Reshaping process. Photo by Marja Sterck

“Morninglight”

“Flow motion.” Photos by Marja Sterck

 

 



Art Craft

Amorphous Ceramic Vessels by Julie Bergeron Merge the Shapes and Textures of Organic Matter

August 8, 2022

Grace Ebert

All images by Alain Delorme, © Julie Bergeron, shared with permission

From her studio in Paris, artist Julie Bergeron hand-builds amorphous stoneware vessels that mimic a wide array of creatures and lifeforms found in nature. Hollow ducts and pointed spines cover the surfaces of the cavernous forms, ambiguously evoking seed pods, tropical fruits like rambutan or durian, and small marine organisms. “I have fun mixing types, blurring the tracks… Are we in the vegetal, animal, microscopic, or human world? The borders become undefined,” she tells Colossal.

Inspired by the biological illustrations of Ernst Haeckel, Bergeron uses a coiling technique to shape the initial bodies before engraving or covering the forms in repeating patterns. She leaves the works unglazed so that the minerality and organic textures of the clay remain intact, the final steps of a process she explains in further detail:

When I start my pieces, I don’t have a specific idea. Gradually the sculpture takes shape, and I let myself be guided by its curves and its irregularities. The name of the piece comes to me when it is finished depending on what it evokes to me or the emotion felt. Often the sculptures seem alive to me.

The Quebec-born artist has a few pieces available from Suzan in Paris, and her Instagram features a trove of vessels and glimpses into her process.