My first introduction to clay on any formal level came at the University of Kansas where I took an elective hand building class and was intrigued by how much information a person needed to know to work independently even in such a setting as a hot, boring, third floor ceramics studio. I don't think I would have continued in ceramics except for a chance meeting at a different college six months later when I saw a young man dipping clay slurry out of a large bucket onto a plaster batt to dry. I knew what he was doing from my experience with my first class and went around a short wall to have a chat with him. He smiled and asked me if I wanted to look around and later after we had met the professor I decided to transfer into the ceramics program. That was the beginning and I never wavered in my determination to become a potter. By the way, Alex Marino is still one of my dearest friends 44 years later. After another year, I was a student at the Kansas City Art Institute where I studied with Ken Ferguson and Victor Babu and then I studied at the Rhode Island School of Design where I worked with Norm Schulman and Wayne Higby and Jun Kaneko. I feel so fortunate to have had such wonderful and sensitive and inspiring teachers. Their presence at those institutions was a great draw for talented students and it was my great good luck to be associated with student colleagues with tremendous drive and determination to make good work. We all wanted to succeed, to make our teachers proud of us. One of those talented students at Kansas City was Donna Polseno, who later agreed to marry me and after our graduate school days in Rhode Island moved with me to Floyd, Virginia. We have lived there since 1974 and made our work and made a living making ceramics ever since. We are part of a group of potters (16Hands) who hold two sales a year and those sales are the major outlet for my work. Donna and I currently teach ceramics part time at Hollins University and travel widely throughout the world looking at and thinking about pots. In the summers we teach ceramics at La Meridiana in Certaldo, Italy and spend as much time as possible at our small home near the coast of Liguria in the north of Italy.
Courtney Martin is a full time studio potter living and working in the mountains of North Carolina near Penland. She grew up just outside of New York City on Long Island. After high school Courtney went to college at the University of New Mexico. During her first year at UNM, she took a ceramics class on a whim and fell in love with clay. After graduating with a BFA in ceramics, Courtney moved to western North Carolina to work with and apprenticed for Terry Gess, Michael Kline, Cynthia Bringle, and others. While working with other potters, learning more about making pottery and the business of pottery, Courtney continued to develop her own voice in ceramics. She has taken and assisted in classes at Penland, Arrowmont, Odyssey and Santa Fe Clay. In 2006 she stopped working for others and began making her living making pots. In 2007 Courtney was awarded the Regional Artists Project Grant towards funding to build a kiln. By August of 2007 she had completed building her wood fired cross draft climbing kiln. Since building her kiln, Courtney work has continued to grow and find audiences all over the world. In July 2010 Courtney had a solo show in Okinawa, Japan. She is represented by (among others) Freehand Gallery, Penland Gallery, and Lark and Key.
Amelia Stamps is a full-time studio potter in Lexington, Kentucky. She received her Bachelor of Fine Arts degree from the University of North Carolina in Asheville in 2002 under the instruction of Megan Wolfe. Growing up in the mountains of North Carolina she was inspired by a thriving craft community. Stamps worked for multiple years as an assistant to artists in the ceramic field until she later established her own studio. She has been the recipient of multiple grants and awards such as Individual Artist Grant from the Kentucky Arts Council. Her work cycle revolves around exhibiting in retail and wholesale shows, online gallery sales and commissions.
Kristin Schoonover grew up in Long Island. She attended Alfred University in western New York. During her four years of college, she worked with glass and clay. She received her BFA in 2001 with a focus on slip-casted, porcelain sculpture. After graduation, she moved to Bozeman, Montana. While in Montana, she worked along side Beth Kennedy in her home studio. After the snow arrived, she decided to try Asheville, North Carolina.
Asheville has been a great place to grow as a ceramic artist. Soon after arriving, she became part of the River District Artists. A little while later, she was accepted into the Southern Highland Crafts Guild.
She is now living and working in Asheville.
Mark and Huynh Mai Fitzgerald
All of our pieces are handmade, one at a time. Careful attention to every detail is given to each piece. Visual and tactile appeal are qualities we always hope to achieve, however function is a very important aspect of our pottery and we strive to make sure that each piece "works". That is: lids fit, spouts pour, and handles are comfortable and balanced. There is a unique pleasure in using pottery that is not only visually beautiful but also functions well. The everyday activities of eating, drinking and serving food and beverage become a little more special using that favorite mug, bowl or pitcher.
We truly enjoy what we do and we strive to make work that is of the highest quality. In this age of styrofoam and paper cups, commercially produced dinnerware and plastics of all kinds, we hope that people who choose to own and use our work will feel a little more connected to the process of human creativity.
Our work cycle is typically a 2 to 3 week period of producing our work. This includes everything from preparing the raw materials to forming and finishing the pieces, attaching handles and drying the ware. We then bisque fire everything and spend the next few days applying the glazes. Everything is then loaded in to our large gas fired kiln where it undergoes a 2 1/2 to 3 day period of firing and cooling down. At this point the pieces are finished and we unload and inspect each piece for quality.
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 and sculptural pots reflect the nature that surrounded me as a child. I gravitate towards pots that are casual, quiet and appear to have grown right out of the spot they sit. My aesthetic falls into a minimalist category, less is much 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 line designs that are unadorned but have a strong presence with aspects that are loose, organic, and casual.
My stoneware pieces are treadle wheel thrown and then modified with hand built components. Surface treatments are applied slips and glazes, natural ash and/or soda. My work is fired in soda or wood kilns.
I am a utilitarian potter. I create pots that are visually pleasing and unique in character, but also useful in everyday life. I was born in upstate New York and moved to the Piedmont of South Carolina in my late teens. I earned a BFA in Interior Design from Virginia Commonwealth University in 1989, and returned to school at East Carolina University in 1995 to complete a BFA and MFA in Ceramics in 1999. I have taught college level and elementary level art and ceramics for the last 10 years. I am currently a full-time studio potter and teach part-time at a private school.
I enjoy making serving pieces and tableware that bring delight to the daily activity of eating, setting a table and enjoying a meal. While growing up, I spent many weekends observing and participating in the traditions and rituals of my paternal Italian-American extended family. Among the most prevalent of these traditions were the preparation and presentation of elaborate meals. As a child, I observed how the tableware was as important as the planning, preparation and enjoyment. This served as the foundation for my interest in utilitarian pottery and love of creating elaborate surfaces and forms.
The pots I create reflect the enjoyment I have for throwing, embellishing, creating and using. I enjoy creating each piece with its own unique character and personality, whether I change a spout, foot, rim, glaze color or decorative element. All of my pieces are wheel thrown and altered in some way. Because of the rich color I get from the glazes I use, I enjoy working with porcelain. I embellish my pots with handmade stamps, colored clay sprigs and have recently started incising drawings with black slip into my pieces. The forms I make are usually organic in nature, which stems from my love of the material I use, and my personal preference for a fluid line. My inspirations for surfaces come from patterns in fabric, paintings, nature and historic dishware pottery.
I currently work from my home studio in Gastonia, North Carolina where I live with my husband Joey, our son Quaid and twin daughters Aydan and McKenna.
Shadow May is a self-taught, award winning ceramic artist. He was born and raised in Homer, Alaska, but now calls Chattanooga, Tennessee, home. The fundamentals he gained from apprenticeships and production work early in his career equipped him with a fearless method of creating sculpture—evolving rapidly.
Although he spent many years working as a functional potter, he began to feel confined by the restrictions of functional pottery. Because of the desire to push from function to form, his current large, hollow, teetering forms and opaque glazes emphasize the value of taking risks. May’s ceramic forms marry a studio artist’s discipline with an experimental performer’s mentality. His commitment and knowledge of the medium only encourages him to take greater risks. He welcomes mistakes and struggles and he seems to believe it brings a greater sense of resolve and presence to each form.
May has received a Tanne Foundation Award, Tennessee Arts Commission Artist Fellowship, and Make Work, ArtsMove and CERF grants. May teaches workshops nationally and has been published in Ceramics Monthly and Clay Times. He has exhibited his work across the country in over a hundred juried fine arts shows.
We are a husband and wife collaborative team. Ideas are shared; each of us brings different skills into the process of creating our work. Carrin started out as a fiber artist... a tapestry weaver. She came into the pottery studio with her sense for color and surface arrangement more than 20 years ago. Richard's entire career of 47+ years has been as a studio potter, first making functional stoneware and porcelain in the Leach-Hamada tradition, and now working exclusively in raku. Our pottery is, before all else, a statement of form. We look first for the silhouette of the piece; the lift from the surface, the graceful extension from the foot to the belly into the curve of the body, the strength of the shoulder, the grace of the neck, and finally the finish of the lip. All the parts are connected, and all the parts should be cohesive. We call our style of work 'American Raku ' to distinguish it from the original, Japanese style of fast-firing and quick-cooling raku. (The Japanese did not put their raku through the smoking part of the firing. ) We do, however, try to follow the example of Donyu, the third in line of raku masters , who was noted for his innovation in the use of the raku process. We hope to continue with OUR innovation of this technique to produce work that will add to the library of contemporary American ceramics.
I am after the discovery of my pots, my place and my language, in this rich continuum of clay history. The work is rooted in functional design while expressing ideas of spontaneity. I do not need to extol the justifications utilitarian ceramics can play in today’s world. I am a potter, period. I am more concerned with living, moving forward. The act of working at the wheel, kiln, etc. is for me the same as a mechanic, a doctor, or a teacher. It is a life lived. The warmth and energy gained from daily life, allows me to create pots that are full of energy, and full of humility and reflect the changes in life I go through.
The pots I make are simple in form which is a great canvas for stamping, combing or just general pattern decoration. This pattern coupled with the rich colors of my palette and the gentile kiss of the wood fired soda glaze combine to create vibrant pots that are comfortable in the kitchen cupboard, on the dinner table or sitting on the mantel.
I began working full time as a potter in Hamburg, Germany in 2008 when I moved to be near my partner and love of my life, Scot King. For 7 years I traveled all over Scandinavia and Eastern Europe demonstrating primitive pottery techniques and showing my work annually at Hedeby Viking Museum in Germany, Ribe Viking Center in Denmark, The Cultural Reserve of Kernave, in Lithuania; and The Museum of Archeology in Biskupin, Poland. The romance of travel and historical and archeological study has been a huge influence on my work over the years.
My current work is inspired by early Slavic, and Finn Ugrian ceramics from the Neolithic Era to the Iron Age. I first developed my curiosity regarding these ancient pottery styles when I was invited to Russia as a demonstrator at a major historical festival in Moscow. It was there that I first fell in love with the heavy stamping and mark making of the ancient Slavic and Finn Ugrian tribes after a visit to the National Historical Museum. Over the past 9 years I've visited Russia 10 times attending archeological symposiums and museum tours. Since my first visit I have participated in cultural exchanges in Moscow, St. Petersburg, Murom, Novgorod and Staraya Ladoga, and have worked closely with archeologists in Russia and the Baltic to develop the research that has inspired my forms and mark making in modern clay today.
I'm currently lucky enough to reside in beautiful Madison County North Carolina and work full time in my studio at Marshall High Studios, overlooking the French Broad River.
Matthew Schiemann is a second-generation potter that grew up watching and helping his dad create ceramic works. This early exposure taught Matt to appreciate the handmade object and eventually to choose the field of ceramics for himself. He received his Bachelors of Arts in Sculpture and Ceramics from Ashland University in 2005 and his Masters of Fine Arts in Ceramics at Southern Illinois University Carbondale in 2009.
While in graduate school, Matt worked as Harris Deller’s personal assistant and as a Teaching Assistant for the wheel throwing and industrial design courses. During this time, he began building his own body of work focused on functional pottery fired in atmospheric kilns.
After graduating from Southern Illinois University Carbondale, Matt was accepted as an artist in residence at the St. Petersburg Clay Company. Shortly after being accepted as A.I.R. Matt became an adjunct professor at Eckerd College for PEL program’s ceramics department. In October of 2010, Matt became co-owner/director of the St. Petersburg Clay Company. Matthew is now currently the manager for the St. Pete Clay Artist in Residence Program at the Morean Center for Clay and is an adjunct professor at St. Petersburg College.