Tag Archives: Functional Ceramics

Q & A with Kate Symonds

The Upstate New York Ceramics Invitational at Main Street Arts will feature functional and sculptural ceramic work by 13 artists from the region. This invitational represents some of the most exciting contemporary ceramic work being made in upstate New York.

The exhibition will be held July 11–August 29, 2015.
Online purchasing will begin in mid-July.

Kate Symonds

Canandaigua ceramic artist Kate Symonds

Kate Symonds

Q: Where are you from originally and where are you now?
A: I was born and raised in Canandaigua NY. I lived in Rochester, California, Colorado and now live in my hometown as the proprietor and potter at Coach Street Clay.

Q: When did you realize you wanted to be a ceramic artist?
A: I realized that I wanted to be a ceramic artist freshman year of college.  It was the material, the community of the ceramic studio, and the challenge of learning to center and build with clay. One semester of this and I was hooked.  It was in the “Professional Craft Business Practices” class at RIT that I came up with the idea to renovate a barn into a studio, gallery and living space. A few years passed, I did a couple artist residences, waited on tables and started looking for property to buy.  There it was!  I found an old dilapidated barn in downtown Canandaigua in 2007. As a carpenter’s daughter I could see the potential in this property.  After about three years of blood, sweat, and renovation tears I was in business. Coach Street Clay opened in October 2010.

Q: Did you make other types of artwork before finding ceramics? Do you currently make other work?
A: I first went to college for fine arts. I was into drawing and painting and figurative work. When I found clay my focus was sculptural. I became interested in making pots while at my Genesee Pottery residency. At an Anderson Ranch winter residency I jumped in to making pots and never looked back.

Q: Do you have an artistic hero or an artist you look up to?
Just one hero? No. I have immense admiration for all of the mothers and fathers who are makers and entrepreneurs. Raising a child while cultivating a business through art and clay requires more all nighters in the studio than most believe to be humanly possible. Stories of other mothers doing it too is motivating.

Q: What is your largest source of inspiration?
A: Springtime, gardening, nature walks, lake swimming, my daughter Sylah’s perspective.

Q: Do you look forward to opening the kiln? Or do you wince at the thought of something going wrong in there?
A: I love opening the kiln! When things go wrong, therein lies good information. Most of the time things go right at this point. Unless of course I have the time to experiment and push things a bit, but still that is where the good work comes from.

Q: What is it like being a ceramic artist in Upstate NY?
A: I have found my place in the world as the village potter in downtown Canandaigua in the beauty of the Finger Lakes. It is a dream that continues to unfold as my business is welcomed and supported by the local people. Coach Street Clay has become part of the community here. My story is told and re-told as my pots continue find homes in Canandaigua, the Fingers Lakes and beyond.

Q: Where else are you showing your work this summer or fall?
Coach Street Clay’s retail gallery is open to the public 5 days a week. I will also be showing at regional juried craft shows such as Craft Alliance in Chautauqua NY, Clothesline in Rochester, and others.

Q: Is there anything strange or unique that people might not know about you?
A: I’ve always had a thing for climbing trees. Many of my childhood memories involve tree climbing. I still climb trees when the mood strikes. Another thing, my 6 year old daughter Sylah and I are learning to play the violin together.

Teapot by Kate Symonds

Teapot by Kate Symonds

Mug by Kate Symonds

Mug by Kate Symonds

Mug by Kate Symonds

Mug by Kate Symonds

Bowl by Kate Symonds

Bowl by Kate Symonds

Vase by Kate Symonds

Vase by Kate Symonds

Where can people see more of your work/follow you?
Website: www.coachstreetclay.com

Check out the previous Q & A with ceramic artist Kala Stein.

Q & A with Kala Stein

The Upstate New York Ceramics Invitational at Main Street Arts will feature functional and sculptural ceramic work by 13 artists from the region. This invitational represents some of the most exciting contemporary ceramic work being made in upstate New York.

The exhibition will be held July 11–August 29, 2015.
Online purchasing will begin in mid-July.

Kala Stein

Canadice ceramic artist Kala Stein

Kala Stein

Q: Where are you from originally and where are you now?
A: I am originally from Springwater, NY and relocated throughout the east in my late teens and twenties when I was studying ceramics. I returned to the Finger Lakes area when I began graduate school at the NYS College of Ceramics at Alfred University.  I now live in Canadice, NY in a refurbished 1959 sleep away camp that my husband and I operate as summer vacation rentals. Link: Woodland Retreat

Q: When did you realize you wanted to be a ceramic artist?
A: When I was studying graphic design at SUNY New Paltz I missed the labor and dirt-under-the-finger-nails, back to the land, lifestyle I had grown up with, on a small homestead in Springwater, NY. I found this type of work and intensity in the ceramics studio where the magic of throwing a bowl from a couple of pounds of clay seemed aligned with the wonder of growing food from seed or raising livestock. The collective experience of the ceramics studio was intellectually and socially engaging for me and by my junior year in college I was at the point of no return.

Q: Did you make other types of artwork before finding ceramics? Do you currently make other work?
A: I am working on designing and building a small, efficient home with my husband. It is a work in progress where we have incorporated reclaimed materials, hand-harvested and milled woods, sensitivity to the landscape and sustainable lifestyle.

Q: Do you have an artistic hero or an artist you look up to?
A: 
There are so many! I especially admire Betty Woodman and her work not only as a pioneering female artist but also as a world traveler and recognized master craftsman and avant-garde thinker.

Q: What is your largest source of inspiration?
A: I am inspired by many, many outside sources of natural beauty, antiquities, and timeless design but ideas really flow for me when I am able to focus in the studio for lengths of time, analyze my work, and visualize new moves and directions to explore. There is no other inspiration or motivation like this- when momentum is in motion, time falls away, and ideas flow freely.

Q: Do you look forward to opening the kiln? Or do you wince at the thought of something going wrong in there?
A: Both!  Clay is full of dualities and surprises. The kiln is the physical manifestation of this. Before I open the kiln, if there is nothing to wonder or worry about, I know I am not my pushing my work or myself as I should.

Q: What is it like being a ceramic artist in Upstate NY?
A: Being a ceramic artist in Western NY is at once lonely and full of company. I am an anomaly in my community because I have a rural studio in a small town, I share this position with Robin Whiteman whose studio is next door. Since I am linked with clay artists in Rochester, Buffalo, Canandaigua, Corning, Syracuse, Alfred, and everywhere in between, I always have a support network and inspiring acquaintances.

Q: Is there anything strange or unique that people might not know about you?
A: I am an obsessive multi-tasker and proponent of efficient, careful, conscious existence. Something else people don’t know about me–I lived in a teepee the first 6 months of my life in the Blue Ridge Mountains of Virginia!

Kala Stein

Kala Stein

Kala Stein

Kala Stein

Kala Stein

Kala Stein

Where can people see more of your work/follow you?
Website: www.kalastein.com
Instagram: @kalasteindesign
Summer Vacation Rentals: Woodland Retreat

Check out the previous Q & A with ceramic artist Jody Selin.

Q & A with Jeremy Randall

The Upstate New York Ceramics Invitational at Main Street Arts will feature functional and sculptural ceramic work by 13 artists from the region. This invitational represents some of the most exciting contemporary ceramic work being made in upstate New York.

The exhibition will be held July 11–August 29, 2015.
Online purchasing will begin in mid-July.

Jeremy Randall

Tully ceramic artist Jeremy Randall

Jeremy Randall

Q: Where are you from originally and where are you now?
A: I grew up in Syracuse NY, and returned to CNY in 2005 after Grad School.  I am about 1/2 hr south of Syracuse in Tully NY.

Q: When did you realize you wanted to be a ceramic artist?
A: I found clay in High School, and knew that I was interested in the way the material worked.  I have always been engaged with 2D work, but there was something about the idea of use that interested

Q: Did you make other types of artwork before finding ceramics? Do you currently make other work?
A: I wouldn’t say that I make other work, but drawing is definitely a part of my studio practice, and painting has shown up now and again in some of my side projects.

Q: Do you have an artistic hero or an artist you look up to?
A: Mark Pharis, and Jean Michelle Basquiat

Q: What is your largest source of inspiration?
A: Rural Architecture, Objects, and structures that talk about utillity and use, as well as surfaces that show the stain of age, use, and environment.

Q: Do you look forward to opening the kiln? Or do you wince at the thought of something going wrong in there?
A: I always love kiln openings.  To be able to see the development of surface and color is why Im drawn to what I do.

Q: What is it like being a ceramic artist in Upstate NY?
A: I love CNY, the landscape, and the rural spaces are constant joy and inspiration to me.

Q: Where else are you showing your work this summer or fall?
A: I’ll be showing at the NCECA gallery expo with the Gandee Gallery, I’ll have a two person show at Crimson Laurel in July, Red Lodge Clay Center and the Craft Boston show in the fall, the Clay Studio, and Society of Arts and Crafts in Boston.

Q: Is there anything strange or unique that people might not know about you?
A: I keep Chickens and play Old Time banjo.  I also love road cycling and wrenching on Bikes.

Artwork by Tully ceramic artist Jeremy Randall

Flat Cups by Jeremy Randall

Green Window Sill Vase by Jeremy Randall

Green Window Sill Vase by Jeremy Randall

House Boxes by Jeremy Randall

House Boxes by Jeremy Randall

Bottle by Jeremy Randall

Bottle by Jeremy Randall

Basket by Jeremy Randall

Basket by Jeremy Randall

Where can people see more of your work/follow you?
Website: www.jeremyrandallceramics.com
Facebook: jeremy randall ceramics
Instagram: @randallceramics
Twitter: @randallceramics

Check out the previous Q & A with ceramic artist Joanna Poag.

Q & A with Peter Pincus

The Upstate New York Ceramics Invitational at Main Street Arts will feature functional and sculptural ceramic work by 13 artists from the region. This invitational represents some of the most exciting contemporary ceramic work being made in upstate New York.

The exhibition will be held July 11–August 29, 2015.
Online purchasing will begin in mid-July.

Peter Pincus

Penfield ceramic artist Peter Pincus

Peter Pincus

Q: Where are you from originally and where are you now?
A: Rochester and Rochester

Q: When did you realize you wanted to be a ceramic artist?
A: My junior year of High school, I took a ceramics class on a whim. My life as I knew it changed the instant I stepped into that classroom.

Q: Did you make other types of artwork before finding ceramics? Do you currently make other work?
A: All clay, all day. I used to work with metals, but that was unhealthy.

Q: Do you have an artistic hero or an artist you look up to?
A: Chris Thile, Josef Albers, Sol Lewitt, Julie Mehretu, Christina West (Can I say that? She’s been blowing my mind lately with jaw dropping figures.)

Q: What is your largest source of inspiration?
A: My family is the primary source of inspiration for my work. If you were to view what I make as abstract figurative sculpture that uses the language of pottery, as opposed to function tableware, you may discover much emphasis placed on relationship dynamics. I try to use my time in the studio as a way of reflecting upon my life, and the most meaningful thing to me is the way in which my wife, Laurie, and myself have grown as individuals and as a team over the past 13 years.

Q: Do you look forward to opening the kiln? Or do you wince at the thought of something going wrong in there?
A: Who wouldn’t? That is the best part. For better or worse, it is the moment.

Q: What is it like being a ceramic artist in Upstate NY?
A: It is incredibly affordable and practical. Thanks to the Internet, I’m physically in WNY, but I can be everywhere else at the same time.

Q: Where else are you showing your work this summer or fall?
A: Artisan Gallery in Wisconsin, AKAR Gallery in Iowa, Studio KotoKoto online, Morean Art Center in Florida, and a super secret special venue that I’ll disclose soon!

Q: Is there anything strange or unique that people might not know about you?
A: I’m only making vessels while I wait for the world to uncover my mandolin prowess. Though, I may be waiting forever…

Artwork by Penfield ceramic artist Peter Pincus

Vases by Peter Pincus

Bottles by Peter Pincus

Bottles by Peter Pincus

Urns by Peter Pincus

Urns by Peter Pincus

Urns by Peter Pincus

Urns by Peter Pincus

Where can people see more of your work/follow you?
Instagram: peterpincusporcelain
Website: www.peterpincus.com

Peter Pincus wrote four Inside the Artist’s Studio blog posts for the Main Street Arts blog! Check them out here: Inside the Artist’s Studio with Peter Pincus

Check out the previous Q & A with ceramic artist Colleen McCall.

Q & A with Colleen McCall

The Upstate New York Ceramics Invitational at Main Street Arts will feature functional and sculptural ceramic work by 13 artists from the region. This invitational represents some of the most exciting contemporary ceramic work being made in upstate New York.

The exhibition will be held July 11–August 29, 2015.
Online purchasing will begin in mid-July.

Colleen McCall

Elmira ceramic artist Colleen McCall

Colleen McCall

Q: Where are you from originally and where are you now?
A: Born and raised in Kansas City, Kansas. Settled in Elmira, New York now.

Q: When did you realize you wanted to be a ceramic artist?
A: After a summer working as a scenic artist in a hot warehouse in downtown Kansas City I realized that I never wanted to paint again. Creating 2-D illusions on 20 by 60 foot theatrical back drops made me want to work more than ever in three dimensions.  I immediately switched from a painting concentration to ceramics my first semester of college.

Q: Did you make other types of artwork before finding ceramics? Do you currently make other work?
A: My ceramic education was strictly sculptural.  During graduate school I made life-size hollow torsos inspired by the classical ideal, phrases in modern dance and gesture. It wasn’t until my daughter was born that I started making dishes for her and her friends as a way of keeping my hands in clay.  Periodically I revisit my sculptural work but for the most part I am focused on creating highly decorated functional ceramics.

Q: Do you have an artistic hero or an artist you look up to?
A: Without hesitation Andrea Gill, I have always admired her many abilities as an artist, mentor, parent and spouse.  My ceramics work today is certainly influenced by her playful use of pattern and color. While Andrea was never my advisor during graduate school, she kept silent watch over my two years in the program.  At the conclusion of my MFA Thesis show she presented me with a handwritten critique of my sculptures complete with affirmations of my talent and character. That note set me forth on my path as an artist and as a person. Additionally, Andrea set me up with my first residency at the Harvard Ceramics Program which allowed me to continue making my life-size work.

Q: What is your largest source of inspiration?
A: When choosing forms, patterns and colors I try to stay true to that defiant three year old in me. The same little girl who would never match her Garanimals clothing. The matching shirt would have an applique of fabric from the proper corduroy pants. Boring. Effortless. With my pottery I like to encourage individuality.  The collector has to make it their own through unique combination or in collaboration with other cherished items.

Q: Do you look forward to opening the kiln? Or do you wince at the thought of something going wrong in there?
A: I’m always unloading the kiln with gloves on.  Not sure if that means I’m always excited to see what’s happened or just behind on a deadline.  For the most part the kiln opening is joyful.  I work with mostly commercial clays and glazes that are formulated to be dependable.

Q: What is it like being a ceramic artist in Upstate NY?
A: There’s a lot of opportunity in Upstate New York to exhibit, sell, teach and collaborate. Folks are generally eager to support the arts and appreciate the connection and richness that handmade ceramics brings to their daily lives.

Q: Where else are you showing your work this summer or fall?
A: The Ithaca Artist Market again, hopefully. No word yet which issue of Pottery Making Illustrated my article will be in. I’ll keep you posted.

Q: Is there anything strange or unique that people might not know about you?
A: I never intended to make functional ceramics but now that I do it seems so perfect.

Bowl by Colleen McCall

Bowl by Colleen McCall

Basket Bowl by Colleen McCall

Basket Bowl by Colleen McCall

Red Sampler Tray by Colleen McCall

Red Sampler Tray by Colleen McCall

Where can people see more of your work/follow you?
Instagram: colleenceramics
Facebook: Colleen McCall Ceramics
Website: www.colleenmccallceramics.com

Check out the previous Q & A with ceramic artist Ashley Lyon.

Q & A with Michael Hughes

The Upstate New York Ceramics Invitational at Main Street Arts will feature functional and sculptural ceramic work by 13 artists from the region. This invitational represents some of the most exciting contemporary ceramic work being made in upstate New York.

The exhibition will be held July 11–August 29, 2015.
Online purchasing will begin in mid-July.

Michael Hughes

Syracuse ceramic artist Michael Hughes

Ceramic artist Michael Hughes

Q: Where are you from originally and where are you now?
A: I am originally from Rochester but have relocated to Syracuse by way of Chicago, Taiwan and Seattle.

Q: When did you realize you wanted to be a ceramic artist?
A: I first took a ceramics class as an elective in college. I was a bio major but eventually switched to ceramics.

Q: Did you make other types of artwork before finding ceramics? Do you currently make other work?
A: I have done a little painting but ceramics has always been my primary interest.

Q: Do you have an artistic hero or an artist you look up to?
A: There are many artists I admire but not one in particular.

Q: What is your largest source of inspiration?
A: Simplicity always inspires me whether it is from art and design or from nature.

Q: Do you look forward to opening the kiln? Or do you wince at the thought of something going wrong in there?
A: I do look forward to opening the kiln but I am always aware of how things can change from my expectations.

Q: What is it like being a ceramic artist in Upstate NY?
A: I like being an artist in upstate NY but I miss the diversity of bigger cities. And it has been freezing for the past few weeks so I like it better in the spring and fall.

Q: Where else are you showing your work this summer or fall?
A: I am limiting my showing this summer as I have a couple other projects I am working on. Fall is still undecided.

Q: Is there anything strange or unique that people might not know about you?
A: I don’t know if it is very unique but along with ceramics I also have a great deal of personal experience working with people with developmental disabilities. And yeah there are a couple of strange things about me… The book will be out on that soon.

Work by Michael Hughes

Bowls by Michael Hughes

Bowl by Michael Hughes

Bowl by Michael Hughes

Bowl by Michael Hughes

Bowl by Michael Hughes

Cup by Michael Hughes

Cup by Michael Hughes

Where can people see more of your work/follow you?
Etsy: mrhstudio
Website: www.mrhstudio.com

Check out the previous Q & A with ceramic artist Bryan Hopkins.

Q & A with Bryan Hopkins

The Upstate New York Ceramics Invitational at Main Street Arts will feature functional and sculptural ceramic work by 13 artists from the region. This invitational represents some of the most exciting contemporary ceramic work being made in upstate New York.

The exhibition will be held July 11–August 29, 2015.
Online purchasing will begin in mid-July.

Bryan Hopkins

Buffalo ceramic artist Bryan Hopkins

Ceramic artist Bryan Hopkins

Q: Where are you from originally and where are you now?
A: Philadelphia, PA; Buffalo, NY

Q: When did you realize you wanted to be a ceramic artist?
A: After taking a ceramics class in college to fulfill an art requirement.

Q: Did you make other types of artwork before finding ceramics? Do you currently make other work?
A: no, and no

Q: Do you have an artistic hero or an artist you look up to?
A: No hero. I love the work of Bodil Manz.

Q: What is your largest source of inspiration
A: The vessel.

Q: Do you look forward to opening the kiln? Or do you wince at the thought of something going wrong in there?
A: yes and yes.

Q: What is it like being a ceramic artist in Upstate NY?
A: Similar to anywhere else I have been, only colder.

Q: Where else are you showing your work this summer or fall?
A: Massachusetts, New York, Pennsylvania, New Jersey, Ohio, and on Objective Clay.

Q: Is there anything strange or unique that people might not know about you?
A: I have an obsession with bicycles that borders on addiction.

Work by Bryan Hopkins

Work by Bryan Hopkins

Cups by Bryan Hopkins

Cups by Bryan Hopkins

Bowl by Bryan Hopkins

Bowl by Bryan Hopkins

Work by Bryan Hopkins

Work by Bryan Hopkins

Where can people see more of your work/follow you?
Websites : www.hopkinspottery.com and www.objectiveclay.com
Instagram: bryanshopkins

A Studio Visit with Ceramic Artist, Peter Pincus

Main Street Arts did a studio visit this week with Peter Pincus, a Rochester-based ceramics artist with an upcoming solo exhibition in our main gallery space. “Sleep, In Spite of the Storm” will feature Pincus’ functional and nonfunctional geometric-patterned ceramics.

Peter Pincus and his assistants, Hannah Thompsett and Liz Tomlinson

Peter Pincus and his assistants, Liz Tomlinson (left) and Hannah Thompsett (right)

Sleep, In Spite of The Storm, celebrates the intimate relationship. On view will be porcelain pots and vessels, which are in this case presented as a collection of sculptural groupings. He says, “It’s a unique challenge to consider pottery as a premier form of abstract expression, carrying with it much more than the ability to contain and serve. This show is strongly autobiographical in nature. My goal is for these pots to be concrete reflections of my experience as a husband, father, early career artist and educator. It is uncommon ground and has made my recent months in the studio thrilling and captivating.”

Studio assistant and artist, Hannah Thompsett

Studio assistant and artist, Hannah Thompsett

Studio assistant and artist, Liz Tomlinson

Studio assistant and artist, Liz Tomlinson

Peter Pincus

Peter Pincus at work in his studio

Peter Pincus and his ceramics

Peter Pincus handling his ceramic works

Exhibition Dates: July 12–August 29, 2014

Artist Talk: Saturday, July 12, 2014 3pm-4pm
Opening Reception: Saturday, July 12, 2014, 4pm–7pm

Gallery Hours: TuesdayThursday, 11am–6pm and FridaySaturday, 11am–7pm.

Peter Pincus' upcoming exhibition, "Sleep, In Spite of the Storm"

Peter Pincus’ upcoming exhibition, “Sleep, In Spite of the Storm” features functional and nonfunctional ceramics with geometric patterns