medium /// ceramic




“choose your own adventure”

Seattle based artist Emily Counts makes the most magical ceramic sculptures. Some of them hang on the wall, interlocked into beautiful narratives, while others tell their stories standing free… and ALL of them are gorgeous / make me wish i knew how to use a kiln! I have questions about Emily’s childhood {because for some reason I always want to know that part!}, we talked about how she found her way to ceramics, her current process, stained glass, mushrooms, grief, grandmothers, haircuts and more. Don’t worry. It’ll make sense. Look/listen under that lovely photo of Emily in her studio {shot by Amber Fouts for Luxe Magazine}, or subscribe on Apple Podcasts and/or Spotify.

Let’s kick things off with the first piece of Emily’s I ever saw / instantly became obsessed with. It’s titled, “Forage and Pour”:

Looooooove. And yes, I popped another one of her wall pieces in there because, um, how could I not. It’s titled “Catenary Vessel”, and I love it too!

Next, Emily’s CERAMIC MURAL {!?}:

Isn’t that crazy amazing!? You might recognize it because I wrote about it, IN DETAIL, last summer. This was at Facebook’s Redmond, WA location, and part of their Artist-in-Residence program.

Oooh, next… some “portraits”, complete with stained glass eyes etc:

Aren’t they lovely? And they have Emily’s bangs!

Up next, interlocking vessels:

Ah, the mushrooms and flowers she talked about. Magical. Also, I really want to see Emily and her husband try to drink ginger tea out of these at the same time.

Finally, a peek at Emily’s current show, titled Souvenir. at Nationale in Portland:

See? This is why I’m such a HUGE fan of Emily. Oh my word, it’s all so gorgeous. I put in that final image so you could get a better look at the glass. What a renaissance woman! She make do it allllllll. Oh, and great news if you’re in Portland, this show has been extended until July 8th. Thank you so much to Emily for sharing all of her stories with us {and for encouraging me to get a kiln!!!}; thanks to Wireframe for supporting this episode; and great big thanks to YOU for listening. There will be more ART FOR  YOUR EAR next weekend.

Other links:

  1. Emily on Instagram
  2. Bio photo of Emily by Amber Fouts for Luxe Magazine
  3. “Souvenir” at Nationale {until July 8}
  4. studio e gallery {Seattle}
  5. SOIL show!Brooklynn Johnson / Rachel Thomander / Ko Kirk Yamahira
  6. Susannah Montague, Sculptor
  7. Wireframe {Podcast}

 





“many shapes of clay”

I am soooo excited to have Kenesha Sneed, aka @tactilematter, on the podcast today! Now, it’s hard to pin point what Kenesha does… because she does so much! Painting, illustrations, murals, ceramics, brand collaborations, and most recently she’s become the author and illustrator of a beautiful children’s book titled “Many Shapes of Clay, A Story of Healing”. It’s such a lovely and uplifting book which, sadly, came out of losing her father suddenly in 2018. I’m sure many of you know, I also lost my dad unexpectedly in 2018, so a book about healing sounds really wonderful to me. Kenesha and I are starting from her childhood in “the dirt”, and working our way right up to today. You can listen right up there under Kenesha looking fabulous, or subscribe on Apple Podcasts and/or Spotify.

First up, a peek at some of the ceramics that, well, changed her life!

Gorgeous! Ummm, how much do I love that she was going to the ceramics studio before work, during her lunch break, and then again after work!? Clearly, she’d found her thing.

Another thing she happens to be realllllly good at… painting, both small and LARGE-SCALE!

Love! The top most mural is the first one she ever did {with help from her partner, and her brother-in-law, artist Nathaniel Tetro}. The swimmer at the bottom was the five-panel piece she was talking about. Her colors and shapes are so, so, so fantastic.

Oka, and today’s main attraction… Kenesha’s very first, absolutely beautiful children’s book, “Many Shapes of Clay – A Story of Healing”:

Such an important message, delivered in such a lovely and caring way. I need it… I think we all need it.

And finally, a huge hug and a big thank you to the two men who would have loved this episode:

Actually, I bet they were listening. Thank you so much to Kenesha for not only coming on the podcast today, but for writing such a beautiful story. I hope it helps children {of all ages} deal with grief, and more importantly, help them with the healing process. Thanks to you for listening, there will be more ART FOR YOUR EAR next weekend.

Other links:

  1. Kenesha on Instagram
  2. “Many Shapes of Clay”, AVAILABLE NOW!
  3. Prestel Publishing
  4. Present Perfect {Literary Agency, San Francisco}
  5. Nathaniel Tetro, Artist / Brother-in-law!
  6. Otis College of Art & Design, LA

 





“don’t lose the joy”

Leopard print pants and a Garfield t-shirt? How can you not want to be friends with Anthony Sonnenberg  … that’s what I imagine he’s saying in this photo. I’m so excited to have Anthony on the podcast today because I’ve been following him on Instagram for years, but we’ve never spoken until today. I was feeling a little shy, but with photos like the one above all over his feed, I was pretty sure he’d be a friggin’ delight… and I was right! Listen right up there under Anthony enjoying the great outdoors, or subscribe on Apple Podcasts and/or Spotify.

I wasn’t sure where to start because Anthony does so many amazing things, but let’s go with his ceramic sculpture:

So gorgeous! The final sculpture above is from quite a few years ago, but I’m almost 100% sure it was the piece that made me click FOLLOW on Instagram. Looooove.

Oh boy, and speaking of love… ANTHONY’S JEWELRY:

Whoa. So big, so ornate, so everything. I can’t wait to see where he goes with this work… it’s going to be ridiculously good.

Now, I chose to start this post with a photo of Anthony enjoying the fresh mountain air, but I could have easily gone with one of these:

Yep, you want to be friends with him… I know, me too. See? I told you he makes and does zillions of things, and all of them are fabulous!

And finally, this. Here’s the painting of Anthony by UK based artist Sarah Ball, and the photographic inspiration:

Isn’t that lovely? Sigh. So good. Thank you so much to Anthony for recording his first ever podcast interview with me… and for not pursuing his career as a “sandwich artist”!  As always, huge thanks to you for listening to yet another episode of ART FOR YOUR EAR… there’ll be a brand new episode next weekend.

Other links:

  1. Anthony on Instagram
  2. “I’m not here. This isn’t happening.” at GAVLAK Palm Beach / June 9 – July 25, 2021
  3. Conduit Gallery, Dallas Texas
  4. Archie Bray Foundation

 





woody de othello

Okay, it’s a three-way tie between the scrambled pink phone, the giant yellow fan, and the nose light. So. Good. This is the weird and wonderful ceramic work of Haitian born, Miami based artist Woody De Othello. Here’s a description of his work via Jessica Silverman Gallery:

During his childhood, Othello saw these household objects as intimate presences, used to alter physical states and offer temporary comfort. Moreover, born and raised in Miami to a family of Haitian descent, the artist was enamored by the power of ceramic pots used to contain and overcome negative energy and bad spirits.

Using a hand-building technique called “slab construction,” Othello builds his ceramic sculptures up about six inches at a time. “The clay takes over; it has a mind of its own,” he explains. “It is a conversation and there is always space for me to react.” Othello pushes the forms up to a point where they are near collapse, working the unfired clay to a point of precariousness, giving each piece a psychological weight, a sense of movement and individual emotion. The glazes are then layered with many pieces being fired multiple times to achieve the depth of color and texture that Othello desires.

‘The clay takes over’ … love, love, love!

*Bio photo via Cultured Mag by Aubrey Mayer




tessa eastman

Oooh, I want to hold one of these “clouds” … I won’t try to taste it, I promise. That said, it wouldn’t be my fault if I did take a little lick, because the first two pieces at the top of the post are titled “Lollipop Mint Baby Cloud Bundles”. Yum!  Anyway, this is the ceramic work of UK based artist Tessa Eastman, and here is a description of her work:

“I aim to fix ungraspable states such as fleeting cloud formations, which represent the ideal and the perishable, doom and fantasy”.

[Tessa Eastman] draws inspiration from natural phenomena as seen through a microscope, exploring the strangeness of growth where systems flow and digress.

Grouping work creates a dialogue of congruence and conflict where voluminous cloud-like shapes exploring the theme of space pushing outwards are juxtaposed with mesh structures revealing the internal. The tension between internal and external relates to receptacles where positive and negative space are equally valued, and also to the body where the void permits life. It is through sensitivity to form and glaze that Tessa’s sculptures become animated and much time is invested in research and testing. Tessa says: “Colour is inspiring and creates a distinction between the sum of parts. Matt and shiny, coarse and smooth and hot and cool coloured glazes offer depth of character.”

Okay, now I really want to hold one.

{List of galleries/places to see Tessa’s work.}





lisa stevens aka “lisa seaurchin”

Well, usually around this time of year I’m writing my posts from Hawaii. Clearly we won’t be going this year, but oh my goodness I miss the ocean, the warm breezes, and all of the vibrant colors. And so, instead, I give you these beauties! This is the work of UK based artist Lisa Stevens. I found her on Instagram, where she’s known as @lisaseaurchin … appropriate, no? Here is a quick description of how she works:

“The main body of my work … is primarily influenced by the clay itself. I do not fight with the clay to make neat edges and smooth, even surfaces, preferring instead to leave the tool marks, the raw edges, and the natural texture of the clay … I also take reference form sea creatures, such as coral, jellyfish and of course, sea urchins. I love working with textures and a lot of my work is pierced. I do not smooth the piercing, but instead, choose to keep the barnacle effect as the clay splits as the tool moves through it.”

Sigh. Aloha.





jacqueline tse

 

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A post shared by Jacqueline Tse (@mad_brooklyn)

YUM! These unglazed porcelain pastries are the work of Arizona based artist Jacqueline Tse, aka @mad_brooklyn. Oh sure, they look sweet ‘n delicious, but there’s definitely something menacing going on. Here’s why:

“My work is highly influenced by my anxieties of being human, particularly the dilemmas of everyday urban life. It is an ongoing exploration of my fascination with American society of excess and shameless consumerism, social media overstimulation, greed and gluttony as a remedy for emotional disconnection. Meanwhile still celebrating the beauty and flaws of these fragile human conditions.”

Such a beautiful way to execute this idea. Now, did you watch the video posted above? It’s just a little teaser, but you can watch the whole video about Jacqueline’s work right here. {created by Supply Unica, April 2020}

{Thanks to Rhonda Willers, another fabulous ceramicist, for pointing me to Jacqueline’s work.}





debra broz

Ahhh, the super weird and wonderful work of LA based artist Debra Broz. I’ve written about her before and – fun fact – that duck-dog up there is a result of Debra being on my podcast five years ago! Yep, after we recorded, I sent her that dog head from a thrift shop in my town, and she turned it into art! Some of her mix-mashed critters are part of an upcoming group show, titled “Salvage” at Paradigm Gallery + Studio {Philadelphia}, curated by Christopher Jobson, the editor of the fabulous arts & culture site Colossal. Here’s the statement for “Salvage”:

“In a culture awash in disposable objects and materiality, it is seemingly impossible to determine what has finally outlived its usefulness or nostalgic pull only to be relegated to storage, the thrift store, or finally, the landfill. This faded sentiment is just the beginning of the journey for this group of four artists who use their abilities to miraculously salvage fragments of tradition and culture that were destined to be lost, relegated to the periphery, or buried forever.”

There’s a virtual opening and live Curator and artist Q&A on Friday, January 22, 2021 • 5:30pm EST Tickets available, RIGHT HERE.





rebecca hutchinson

Gasp! Hanging from the ceiling, lying on the floor, mounted on the wall… these gorgeous cone-like blooms are everywhere! Now, what are we looking at here? I have no idea. Well, I have some idea. There’s paper handmade using recycled materials (like old clothes!?), porcelain – both fire and unfired, and handmade paper coated in porcelain… maybe? Okay, I’m not totally sure, so that’s why I’ve invited Massachusetts based artist and educator, Rebecca Hutchinson, to come on my podcast to us her story AND how she does what she does! Until then, I’ll leave you with her artist statement:

“In nature there are diverse states of existence; the structure of nature, interactions between forces of nature, the resilience and the complexity of engineering in nature. All these states are rooted in the motivation for the need to survive, providing endless visual influences and conceptual possibilities for art making; speaking to the depth and complexity of living with the hopes of revealing the human condition in sculptural form.

Using diverse processes, my interest is in quality of craft, connections, structure, and conceptually to all physical parts to the whole. I build site-responsive sculptural works made from clay and recycled materials, like old clothing or industrial surplus. I hand build, slip trail, dip, layer, cut and construct with the surplus and handmade materials. Works are influenced by growth patterns, but do not replicate nature. Like an animal that uses the vernacular from place, I too up-cycle humble materials into exquisite sculptural forms.”

Yes, this is going to be a very interesting episode… So. Many. Questions! Stay tuned.





alex anderson

Yessssssss! This is the ceramic work of LA based artist Alex Anderson {and there he is, feeling full of gratitude at a show opening… with pink walls so you KNOW I love it!}. Speaking of shows, most of the work posted above is from his solo show earlier this year, titled “Little Black Boy Makes Imperial Porcelains” at GAVLAK Gallery, Los Angeles. Here’s part of the description:

“At the core of Anderson’s current body of work is a philosophical, existential examination of identity politics; based in Los Angeles, the 30-year old gay, Asian-African American sculptor is an artist working against stereotype and racialism rampant in today’s society. By working in an unexpected medium and channeling methodologies surrounding artistic production in ceramic arts, Anderson manages to create fantastic, multifaceted sculptures that are both subversive and whimsical at the same time. Alex Anderson uses the classical aesthetics of western power, which ironically share space with the aesthetics of queer camp cultural production, to translate the structures that govern his lived experience in society and others’ social perceptions of his identities into form. While his work engages with the ceramic canon and draws from the western art historical canon at large, it primarily operates at the core of Post-Blackness.”

Beautiful and powerful. Read the full statement right here.

{Alex’s work is available via GAVLAK Gallery, LA/Palm Beach}