The physical and creative nature of working with clay satisfies my desire to play, construct, experiment, and to get dirty. Patterns in textiles, architecture, nature and quilting inspire me to create works that invite touch and evoke a sense of nostalgic comfort. Early in the construction process, clay is soft and pliable; I enjoy building pieces that reflect these properties even after the clay has become hard from firing. I often make pieces with the intention of showing them in a grouping. Much like people, each piece interacts with another, creating a rhythmic conversation by leaning or even touching.
Although I grew up in a suburb of Cleveland, Ohio, as a child I spent every possible moment in the country exploring the woods and playing in creeks. The earthy tones and minimalism of my functional pots reflect the nature that surrounded me as a child. I gravitate towards a pot that is casual, quiet, and appears to have grown right out of the spot it sits. My aesthetic falls into a minimalist category, less is more for me. I am drawn to and hope to create pots that have an organic and natural quality to them. These are the pots that pull me in. Their irregularities give these pots a personality not unlike our own physical presence. I juxtapose minimalism, simple clean lines, designs that are unadorned but have a strong presence with aspects that are loose, organic, and casual.
My stoneware ceramic work is treadle wheel thrown, and then modified with hand built components. Surface treatments are natural ash or soda, slips, and applied glaze. My work is fired in either a wood or soda kiln.
I experience an elemental satisfaction when working with my hands; manipulating and mastering a material and technique through repetition and problem-solving. I work with clay, which is at once durable and fragile, to reinforce the nature of memory and give it form.
My constant quest for beauty involves both formal and existential inquires. The labor and meditation I experience in the making process is intended to impact the interpretation of my work. A seasonal change, a fleeting encounter with wildlife, or a particular man-made structure on the landscape cause me pause; a brief and spiritual moment that reminds me of my humanness, my senses and surroundings.
Emily Reason grew up in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. She received her MFA from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln and her BFA from West Virginia University. She has been making pots in western North Carolina for twelve years and she is the author of Ceramics for Beginners: Wheel Throwing. Emily now teaches Ceramics in the Professional Crafts Program at Haywood Community College. She lives in Canton, NC with her husband and young daughter.
My pots reflect the fascination I have for the process of throwing, altering, embellishing and using clay. I enjoy creating each piece with it’s own unique character and personality, whether I change a spout, foot, rim, glaze color or decorative element. My pieces are wheel thrown and altered in some way. The clay body that I primarily work with is porcelain because it adapts well to the richness of color that I achieve from my glazes and stains. Texture is also an important element in my work and for this I enjoy etching into the surface and attaching small sprigs to my pots. All these techniques are inspired from fabric patterns.
The utilitarian pieces I create each have an intended use as well as a visual pleasure for the surface it occupies The decorative elements, glaze colors and forms spring from my love of Art Nouvou, Art Deco and Arts and Crafts movements. The endless possibilities I discover each time I begin a new set of work keep clay new and interesting for me. I enjoy reinventing items I have made in the past and learn a great deal from using my own pottery every day.
I graduated with an MFA in ceramics from East Carolina in 1999. I have taught adults, college students and am currently teaching part time lower school art at my children’s school. I make my home in Gastonia North Carolina with my husband, son and twin daughters.
Maria Dondero makes pots and teaches in Athens, Georgia where she lives with her husband and twin boys. She received her MFA from the University of Georgia in 2008 and has worked as a studio potter and professor ever since. In February 2016, Dondero started Southern Star Studio, a community ceramic center with space for artists to work and present their ceramics in the gallery. Her own work, marmalade pottery, focuses on kickwheel thrown functional pieces to be used everyday. Each piece is unique, with its own story to bring to your home. The pots are intended to be used daily, hopefully bringing a moment of lightness to one’s generally hectic life. The mid-range earthenware pots have an aesthetic that draws on the history of ceramics. While subtly referencing pottery traditions from around the world, Maria intuitively sketches images on her ceramic surfaces from her surroundings, grounding the pots in the Georgia soil. She is represented by galleries across the country, and exhibits her work nationally and internationally.
My work is a union of pattern, repetition, and tactile surface treatment that is stimulating to the touch. Texturing my pieces allows me to experiment with line quality, rhythm, and movement. My pots incorporate objects and imagery found in nature, which have personal value to me.
I am motivated by floral patterns I would find in my childhood homes. My family lived a very transient life; we would move to a new town every couple of years. With my environment con- stantly changing, it was easy for me to see the little consistencies, like the floral wallpaper bor- ders that ran along the ceilings around every new house we moved into. Whether it be wallpa- per, curtains, or dinning room linen napkins that my mother insisted we use every meal, the repetitive floral design on these items have made its way into the earliest memories of my life.
I believe that the social and communal aspects of functional pottery are significant. The shape, design, and function of a pot inform its surroundings; it is able to turn a social gathering into a ceremonial setting. My intention is to create pots that beg to be held and used in a setting that brings people together in conversation and fellowship. I want those who experience my work to touch, hold, explore, and most importantly, find a personal use for the work.
Takuro and Hitomi Shibata
Studio Touya is a handmade pottery studio located in Seagrove NC where Hitomi and Takuro Shibata set up their studio and built a Japanese style wood kiln. Our focus is to make simple and functional pottery by using local wild clay and wood firing techniques. We named our pottery as "Touya" when we started our small pottery studio in Shigaraki, Japan, and it literary means "pottery house" in Japanese which we really like.