Tag Archives: Sculptural Ceramics

Q & A with Virginia Torrence

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.

Virginia Torrence

Alfred ceramic artist Virginia Torrence

Virginia Torrence

Q: Where are you from originally and where are you now?
A: I am originally from Midland Michigan and spent four years in Detroit Michigan attaining my BFA. I am now living in Alfred New York attending graduate school.

Q: When did you realize you wanted to be a ceramic artist?
A: I started focusing on ceramics during my senior year of High school and then went on to major in ceramics/crafts in undergrad at the College for Creative Studies.  Although I used many other materials during that time I always preferred working with clay.

Q: Did you make other types of artwork before finding ceramics? Do you currently make other work?
A: I have found that I have a knack for drawing as well and I definitely find myself incorporating that into my current practice. I also dabble in using fiber at times and have recently been using paper pulp in a verity of ways within my sculptures.

Q: Do you have an artistic hero or an artist you look up to?
A: Eva Hesse

Q: What is your largest source of inspiration?
A: I would say that my largest sources of inspiration are literature, music, and my own writing. I read a lot of poetry, philosophy, and surrealist texts.

Q: Do you look forward to opening the kiln? Or do you wince at the thought of something going wrong in there?
A: Most of my current work is only fired once. I found that I want to bring the piece as close as I can to what I want using terra sigillata which is applied when the works are bone dry. When I open the kiln, of course I wince at the thought of disasters, but for the most part I can learn to cope with what I find using other materials. I try to view things that don’t come out exactly right as an opportunity to do something else to them.

Q: What is it like being a ceramic artist in Upstate NY?
A: I am really enjoying my time in Alfred. My classmates are really wonderful and I am learning so much from this experience. Upstate New York is stunning and I enjoy hiking and swimming in the warmer months.

Q: Where else are you showing your work this summer or fall?
A: Hmmm, I am not sure… I am not really actively searching for opportunities to show my work right now while I am getting my degree, but I will be having my thesis exhibition in the summer of 2016 in Alfred. I have nothing else lined up at this point, but would love to.

Sculpture by Virginia Torrence

Sculpture by Virginia Torrence

Sculpture by Virginia Torrence

Sculpture by Virginia Torrence

Sculpture by Virginia Torrence

Sculpture by Virginia Torrence

Sculpture by Virginia Torrence

Sculpture by Virginia Torrence

Sculpture by Virginia Torrence

Sculpture by Virginia Torrence

Sculpture by Virginia Torrence

Sculpture by Virginia Torrence

Where can people see more of your work/follow you?
Website: www.virginiatorrence.com 
Instagram: @virginiaroset

Check out the previous Q & A with ceramic artist Hannah Thompsett.

Q & A with Hannah Thompsett

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.

Hannah Thompsett

Alfred ceramic artist Hannah Thompsett

Hannah Thompsett

Q: Where are you from originally and where are you now?
A: I am originally from Scio, NY, a small town in Western NY. I spent the past two years in Rochester, and now I am a first year graduate student at Alfred University.

Q: When did you realize you wanted to be a ceramic artist?
A: I was introduced to ceramics in high school, and fell in love with the material. However, I was not sure I wanted to pursue ceramics until after I took a ceramics class in undergrad.

Q: Did you make other types of artwork before finding ceramics? Do you currently make other work?
A: I have always enjoyed drawing, and still find forms of it important to my studio practice. In addition to working in ceramics, I also fold paper. I have recently begun to use black and white photography paper and digital photography as well.

Q: Do you have an artistic hero or an artist you look up to?
A: My favorite artist right now is Uta Barth. I think that her photographs are beautiful. I enjoy that her subject matter is visual perception. Someday, I would like to be able to use the subtleties of light and color as well as she does.

Q: What is your largest source of inspiration?
A: I am constantly inspired by my dad, who is a wood worker and furniture maker. I grew up in an environment where there was always a project happening. His attention to detail and level of craftsmanship push me to attain that same level of finish in my own work.

Q: Do you look forward to opening the kiln? Or do you wince at the thought of something going wrong in there?
A: I think that opening the kiln is always a mix of excitement and fear. When I am waiting for a kiln to fire or cool, I usually have a lot of dreams, most of which are much more terrifying than anything that has actually come out of the kiln. One thing that drives making is striving to understand more about the ceramic process and overcome problems that may happen in the kiln.

Q: What is it like being a ceramic artist in Upstate NY?
A: I have been working as an artist in Western NY for the past couple of years. I have found there to be many institutions and individuals who are willing to support the exploration of a young artist. I feel grateful for this support. Also, I have enjoyed meeting many other artists in the area who are also supportive of each other. For me personally, it is nice to be close to the support of my family, and also part of this community.

Q: Where else are you showing your work this summer or fall?
A: I am currently in graduate school, so I am not focused on showing my work right now. I’m hoping to spend a lot of time in the studio this summer working out some ideas while school is not in session.

Q: Is there anything strange or unique that people might not know about you?
A: I don’t think there is anything too strange about me. I have recently begun to work in a darkroom, which I find to be a peaceful environment conducive to clear thinking.

Sculpture by Hannah Thompsett

Sculpture by Hannah Thompsett

Artwork by Hannah Thompsett

Artwork by Hannah Thompsett

Artwork by Hannah Thompsett

Artwork by Hannah Thompsett

Artwork by Hannah Thompsett

Artwork by Hannah Thompsett

Where can people see more of your work/follow you?
Website: www.hannahthompsett.com
Instagram: @hannahthompsettsculpture

Check out the previous Q & A with ceramic artist Kate Symonds.

Q & A with Jody Selin

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.

Jody Selin

Buffalo ceramic artist Jody Selin

Jody Selin

Q: Where are you from originally and where are you now?
A: Originally from Greensboro, North Carolina. I lived in Florida for ten years before moving to Rochester to attend graduate school. I now live in Buffalo, New York.

Q: When did you realize you wanted to be a ceramic artist?
A: I never really realized it. It was a natural progression an attraction to working with the material.

Q: Did you make other types of artwork before finding ceramics? Do you currently make other work?
A: Yes, I draw, paint and do some printmaking in addition to using clay.

Q: Do you have an artistic hero or an artist you look up to?
A: I admire many, many, artists both historic and contemporary, mainly for an interesting idea, technique or skill.

Q: What is your largest source of inspiration?
A: Biological sciences both macro and micro.

Q: Do you look forward to opening the kiln? Or do you wince at the thought of something going wrong in there?
A: Yes, I look forward to it. I usually expect something to not go as planned, but with the idea that I will learn something.

Q: What is it like being a ceramic artist in Upstate NY?
A: It’s a great community of artists.

Sculpture by Jody Selin

Sculpture by Jody Selin

Sculpture by Jody Selin

Sculpture by Jody Selin

Sculpture by Jody Selin

Sculpture by Jody Selin

Sculpture by Jody Selin

Sculpture by Jody Selin

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

Check out the previous Q & A with ceramic artist Jeremy Randall.

Q & A with Joanna Poag

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.

Joanna Poag

Rochester ceramic artist Joanna Poag

Joanna Poag

Q: Where are you from originally and where are you now?
A: I spent most of my life in the Rochester, NY area (moving from Washington, D.C. when I was seven) and I’m still here!

Q: When did you realize you wanted to be a ceramic artist?
A: I had been introduced to ceramics in middle school, but it wasn’t until college that I really became interested in clay. Even then, I wasn’t sold on making it my career path until my final year in school when I had to make a body of work for the senior exhibition. The year of focused making both conceptually and technically was so exhilarating and engaging, that I knew I wanted to have my hands in clay from then on.

Q: Did you make other types of artwork before finding ceramics? Do you currently make other work?
A: Before ceramics, I photographed and painted. Since finding clay, although I enjoy momentary explorations in other mediums, I haven’t seriously pursued any form of art-making outside of ceramics.

Q: Do you have an artistic hero or an artist you look up to?
A: Ruth Asawa! She never stopped making and exploring a variety of forms while living a balanced, full life with her family.

Q: What is your largest source of inspiration?
A: I am always on the search for structural patterns in the natural world. I’m interested in how systems function healthily (homeostasis), so I explore everything from musical patterns to movement patterns of animals to growth structures of plants to string theory.

Q: Do you look forward to opening the kiln? Or do you wince at the thought of something going wrong in there?
A: Opening the kiln TERRIFIES me. Every. Single. Time. I always start by cracking it a smidge, and if I don’t see anything troublesome then, I open it a little further and a little further, until finally I’ve opened it the whole way and can assess the damage. I think I get worked up because I can’t physically see what I’m trying to manage from the outside of the kiln. I guess I have control issues.

Q: What is it like being a ceramic artist in Upstate NY?
A: So far, it’s been wonderful. The community has been so supportive and I’ve been able to find plenty of opportunities to continue my artistic growth.

Q: Where else are you showing your work this summer or fall?
A: Right now the plan is to take some time and work out some exploratory forms that I haven’t quite perfected. No shows planned for the summer and fall as of yet, but stay tuned.

Q: Is there anything strange or unique that people might not know about you?
A: I have a serious addiction to salsa and tortilla chips. Bring on the salt!

Sculpture by Joanna Poag

Sculpture by Joanna Poag

Equilibrium Series by Joanna Poag

Equilibrium Series by Joanna Poag

Equilibrium Series by Joanna Poag

Equilibrium Series by Joanna Poag

Equilibrium Series by Joanna Poag

Equilibrium Series by Joanna Poag

Progression by Joanna Poag

Progression by Joanna Poag

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

Check out the previous Q & A with ceramic artist Peter Pincus.

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 Ashley Lyon

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.

Ashley Lyon

Hornell ceramic artist Ashley Lyon

Ashley Lyon

Q: Where are you from originally and where are you now?
A: I was born and raised in Southern California, Orange County. I left at 18 and moved to Seattle for Undergrad, then to Montana and Colorado for residencies and then back to Washington State for 2 years before moving to Virginia for Graduate School. Following Graduate school I moved to NYC and then 3 years ago I moved to Hornell, NY for a teaching position. I currently live in Hornell.

Q: When did you realize you wanted to be a ceramic artist?
A: I took a lot of ceramics courses in high school, they invented independent study courses for me because I had already taken everything the school offered and I still wanted to pursue it further. In college I tried to focus on something else- I thought perhaps I would become a doctor or a scientist or a writer. When it came time to declare a major the advisor pointed out to me that I had the most credits in art courses despite my desire to become something other than an artist. So this convinced me I should probably just do art. I had to decide between a painting major and a ceramics major because they would not let me do a double major- so I picked Ceramics because at the University of Washington the most exciting things and interesting discussions seemed to be coming from that department. Anyone could major in ceramics whether or not they were using clay- many people were not using clay and this just added to the richness of the program- you could still be a ceramics major by embracing a process that had more to do with the “sensibility” or an approach to clay without actually using it. This completely shaped how I think about it and use it in my own work today.

Q: Did you make other types of artwork before finding ceramics? Do you currently make other work?
A: I make and have made many other things: drawing, painting, videos, photography, textiles. My main other medium that I exhibit professionally along with my ceramic objects is photography.

Q: Do you have an artistic hero or an artist you look up to?
A: There are many, many artists I admire and look up to, I consistently admire and learn from the work of Juan Munoz and Robert Gober. Upon seeing each of their works for the first time I immediately knew and understood all of it- it was a feeling in my gut and my heart that was incredibly inspiring.

Q: What is your largest source of inspiration?
A: I can’t really describe a singular source of inspiration. My impulse to make a piece comes from many things, places, people, and images. Sometimes it is something I’ve seen on the internet, sometimes it is something someone says or something I’ve read, sometimes it is something I’ve witnessed randomly on the street, at a bar, at a restaurant, anywhere really. Sometimes it is a special person or a special object but it can also be something completely banal or someone I don’t know. The main thread is that I tend to start with objects, images, or moments that I have had an intense empathetic connection to. My pieces change and shift significantly as I make them in the studio. Chance, accidents and mishaps are a large source of inspiration and influence upon the final artworks.

Q: Do you look forward to opening the kiln? Or do you wince at the thought of something going wrong in there?
A: A lot of my work is never fired because it is built to become a photograph, but because I embrace accidents and mishaps I have a very neutral relationship with the kiln when I do fire a piece. I look forward to opening the door but rarely do I see what I expected. This is exciting.

Q: What is it like being a ceramic artist in Upstate NY?
A: I have made my work in many places across the country and internationally so making in Upstate NY does not feel particularly distinct for me in relation to my work. I do love it here. I feel good in my soul when I am struck by the natural beauty of everything around me; the seasons, the growth, the colors, the textures. This does not have a direct influence upon my work but it does influence my happiness in life.

I own a large building (a re-purposed Methodist church) that I have remodeled over the last 3 years with my partner Ian McMahon to be our home and studio and an art center. This building was affordable for us to purchase and remodel because it is located in Upstate New York. This is perhaps the most significant influence of location upon my artwork. I have complete access to a very large affordable space, which has been a dream studio for making large-scale sculptures and photographs.

Q: Where else are you showing your work this summer or fall?
A: Nothing planned or scheduled yet! I will be teaching a ceramic workshop at OxBow this summer and am looking forward to that. I am deep in the throws of applying to everything under the sun… and am excited for what the next year may hold in store for me!

Q: Is there anything strange or unique that people might not know about you?
A: I am Co-Founder and Co-Director of an artist-run exhibition center in Hornell, NY: The Belfry.

Sculpture by Ashley Lyon

Sculpture by Ashley Lyon

Sculpture by Ashley Lyon

Sculpture by Ashley Lyon

Sculpture by Ashley Lyon

Sculpture by Ashley Lyon

Sculpture by Ashley Lyon

Sculpture by Ashley Lyon

Sculpture by Ashley Lyon

Sculpture by Ashley Lyon

Where can people see more of your work/follow you?
Websites: www.ashleylyon.com and www.belfryarts.com

Check out the previous Q & A with ceramic artist Bethany Krull.

Q & A with Bethany Krull

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.

Bethany Krull

Buffalo ceramic artist Bethany Krull

Bethany Krull

Q: Where are you from originally and where are you now?
A: I grew up in Lancaster New York (a suburb of Buffalo) and I am currently living in the city of Buffalo

Q: When did you realize you wanted to be a ceramic artist?
A: I started in clay at 17 in high school and knew by the time I started college.

Q: Did you make other types of artwork before finding ceramics? Do you currently make other work?
A: I played around with a lot of things in my past. I have and do work in many materials. In the past, when I had the facilities I was casting bronze, metal working. My husband is a woodworker and I have learned a great deal from him and often work in wood. I have done massive paper mache sculptures. Currently I’m making a sculpture out of white vinyl.

Q: What is your largest source of inspiration?
A: The natural world and our relationship to it.

Q: Do you look forward to opening the kiln? Or do you wince at the thought of something going wrong in there?
A: My work is very predictable, so I look forward to seeing the finished piece.

Q: What is it like being a ceramic artist in Upstate NY?
A: I enjoy the area.

Q: Where else are you showing your work this summer or fall?
A: Keenan Center, NCECA

Sculpture by Bethany Krull

Sculpture by Bethany Krull

Sculpture by Bethany Krull

Sculpture by Bethany Krull

Sculpture by Bethany Krull

Sculpture by Bethany Krull

Sculpture by Bethany Krull

Sculpture by Bethany Krull

Sculpture by Bethany Krull

Sculpture by Bethany Krull

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

Check out the previous Q & A with ceramic artist Michael Hughes.