Through altered figurative forms, some more abstracted than others my sculptures convey feelings of guilt, acceptance, and seduction. I feel drawn into a world where any form could be real and alive. By embracing the voluptuousness of the human body I compose repetitive forms that are provocative in their abstraction.
I have been in love, and working with clay for thirteen years. It all started in Vermont, where I met this wonderful instructor that taught me clay can take you places you never thought possible. We built a wood fire kiln on a farm and harvested our own clay on site near the riverbed. This is how I started my journey. Now I like to teach in a way that frees people from there mind, and let go and see where the clay will take them. When you are truly present with the clay, it will guide you. Letting go of your limitations. I like to focus on the curves and symmetry of the clay, and teach in a way that helps each person find their individual voice and style through the art of ceramics.
My experience with clay has been focused on exploring its limitations and complexities. I am drawn toward examining the functionality of ceramic pieces because so much of the focus with ceramics is on functionality. I manipulate wheel thrown pieces, which are traditionally symmetrical, usable forms, to explore and exploit what their function could be, though reaching that potential after becoming so contorted is difficult. The pieces become organic but retain the essence of being a vessel. This process allows me to examine the intimate way in which we interact with pottery as a cup or bowl and reevaluate it.
I have approached my expressive style in art through my life experiences and the world around me. I capture moments in time that are at a peak of emotion. It is the way you sit uncomfortably in a room when you feel disconnected, or the bliss of satisfaction from embracing something that touches you. Either situation leaves a moment of realization that brings out a truth that can not be hidden by reaction.
Painting brings exact reflections. A representation through paint on paper can present life with a limitless pallet for expression of emotions, feelings, thoughts, and dreams. The idea is to see reality in a single state that represents a time. It is something to laugh back at because it is so serious for that moment. When a reality is exposed, there is an essence of humanity that will stand as long as the memory of the observer. I observe to find truth in reaction to life.
Ceramics is an ever-changing and expanding field, constantly growing in popularity with new people as well as being rediscovered by others. As that happens, there is a tug between breaking new ground and revitalizing old styles. To know where we are going, we must look back from whence we came. So when I need inspiration for my work I will look back at artists and cultures who came before for inspiration. The mixing of styles and aesthetics to create something both fresh and eclectic is what I strive for as an artist.
As a teacher, however nothing brings more personal joy in my life than to help those new to ceramics to fall in love with it as I have and to help those who once heard the calling of clay to hear it again. Whether it is teaching someone to center a ball of clay for the first time or teaching advanced joining methods, I love to hear a student say, “I get it!”
I believe that, as a being capable of creating objects, I have an obligation to make as many things as I can.
I first became attracted to pottery as a medium because of how drastically different it was from the other art forms I was practicing. In college, I would labor over a painting for weeks, and very rarely would I get a finished product that was worth all of the effort. Throwing on a pottery wheel is a much more immediate, physical process. Every move that I make takes each individual piece down a path toward a different outcome. No two pieces ever come out exactly the same, so the challenge then becomes to explore every avenue, and see how many different ways I can do the same thing.
I draw inspiration in my forms from the thousands of years of functional pottery behind me. People have been making objects to suit their needs forever. Ceramic objects are ubiquitous in modern life. I love examining things, whether they be decorative vases in a florist, dishes in a friend’s apartment or classical vessels in a museum and mining them for techniques or styles I can use in my own work. I am well aware that everything worth doing has been done before. My goal is to combine as many old techniques as I can to find something new.
Growing up in Iran I was exposed to functional pottery from an early age , and remember at the age of ten visiting a village potter and being in awe; on the spot I knew that I wanted to be a potter! Of course in my time in Iran it was not possible to become a potter for a young girl… Pottery was taught from father to son.
But I kept my dream alive. When I moved to US and realized I could study to be a potter; WOW!!I I made it a mission. Today when I say I am a potter it fills my heart. I studied at Indiana University, Dept. of Fine Arts concentrating in ceramics and metal smithing and started teaching there. Then I realized I was infatuated by the material, process, technique and most of all function. Immersed in clay I participated, traveled, and researched to be more informed and hope to continue learning . Today I am pleased to be able to share my learnings and experiences with students who want to take the clay journey and hope to learn from them and their experiences.
Jory Shareff studied American Studies and Ceramics at a small school in Vermont, where she made ceramic tiles and sculptural pieces using various mold-making and surface treatment techniques. After graduating, she became interested in functional ceramics, particularly inspired by the minimalist, organic forms of artists such as Lucie Rie and Shoji Hamada. Jory has worked as a production potter for a Brooklyn-based ceramicist and as an editorial assistant for the ceramics studio publication, Studio Potter Magazine. Jory is drawn to balanced, lightweight forms and clean lines. She loves making bowls and tea cups, most of all. Jory enjoys helping other students find their own sources of inspiration and guiding them through their processes and methods.
Clay is my absolute favorite material to work with. I have been fortunate to spend the last two years working towards an MA in ceramics in London. Which means I got to spend all day exploring various clay bodies and techniques (throwing, press molding, slip casting, jolleying, sprigging, etc.). My conclusion of this experience is that I love naked clay thus I don’t glaze much. I love to use my muscles thus I like to make big things. I love the audience interacting with the work and pushing the boundaries of what their perception might be of what clay can do as a material. I have a BA in industrial design and was a practicing graphic designer before going back to school and so I tend to approach making and teaching from an interdisciplinary perspective. Most importantly, I love to teach and share all of these processes with others.
To see my current work, go to larisadaiga.com. Here you will see big ceramic balls that I used to explore the point of view of an object as a living thing, through sight, sound, and moving image. I also developed a series of experimental short films called ‘Interludes’ exploring the point of view of an object in the process of creation on the wheel.
I love to create unique and functional tableware for the home and garden. I produce functional tabletop items for many local restaurants and shops, and try to bring an artistic sensibility to everything I create. I design work that is inspired by natural, organic forms, melty ice cream colors, and cantaloupes.
Working in clay is a joy, but also a struggle, always daring me to move forward to new possibilites. My ceramics work is a reflection of my background in textile design and painting. While exploring the aesthetic relationship between design and surfaces, I use the clay as a canvas. I strive for simplicity of form to balance the complexity of my paintings. The terra sigilatta process allows me great control over the image while remaining undoubtedly ceramic.
Nadeige Choplet is an exhibiting ceramicist with 10 years teaching experience. She received an MFA from l’Ecole des Beaux-Arts in Paris and was a Fulbright Scholarship recipient. She is currently a ceramics and sculpture professor at Lehman College and Manhattanville College and sells her work at galleries all over the United States.
Sabri Ben-Achour has been a potter since a young age, working with clay for more than 20 years. He most recently taught at Hinckley Pottery in Washington, D.C. where he studied under Jill Hinckley. His work reflects Asian aesthetics and organic shapes and textures.