In high school I really wanted to be a special effects makeup artist and was told I needed to learn to sculpt to be successful. I took the beginner ceramics class at my high school and absolutely fell in love with ceramics. In only about 2 weeks I was hooked and making new plans for my future.
I have always loved throwing [on a potters wheel], however recently I have been embracing slip casting. All of my work is fired to cone 6 oxidation to showcase my vibrant color palette. I use a few commercial glazes, mainly celadons, and a few studio-made basics (clear, white, etc.), but the majority of what I use are underglazes. I love the boldness of the colors you get and the painterly way they can be applied.
My favorite piece is “Bee Cup”. I have been expanding my color palette recently to include a wider variety of colors beyond yellows and oranges, and I think this piece is successful in showing my imagery well without relying so heavily on my standard colors.
My work is almost all functional and mainly cups so I was excited to find a show for exactly that!
My work can be found at:
Instagram - @Saramicstudios
Etsy - Etsy.com/shop/SaramicStudios
Michelle Coakes is a recently retired art professor who owns and operates Bad Wolf Pottery in Taylorville, IL. Coakes has been making pots for more than 40 years and holds a BFA, MA and MFA in Ceramics (all from Northern Illinois University.) She has done post-graduate work at Wichita State University and the University of Southern Maine. She has taught at a number of schools throughout the country, including the University of Louisville, Western Kentucky University, Juniata College (PA), Lincoln Land Community College in Springfield, Illinois, and two other community colleges in Illinois. She continues to teach pottery classes at Bad Wolf Pottery. Coakes is the author of “Creative Pottery: A Step-by-Step Guide and Showcase” published by Rockport publishers in 1998.
I was lucky enough to attend at high school in the suburbs of Chicago that had a strong art department. After being “hooked” on pottery in high school, I began taking pottery classes at the nearby community college when I turned 16. I never stopped. After community college, I continued my studies at Northern Illinois University, eventually earning my MFA in 1987.
I prefer to work with stoneware clay. And, I start almost every pot on the wheel. I often throw parts, alter them, and then, assemble them into the finished pieces. I have two options for finishing the work: some are fired in an electric kiln to cone 6, using my own glazes; and some are fired in a wood kiln to cone 9/10, using my own glazes formulated for that temperature.
RinRiI like the contrast I created in the “Porcelain Capped Flask” by using a porcelain slip on the cap of the piece. It is actually thrown stoneware, but I applied a thick slip, which acts like a frosting. The lightness of the porcelain against the darker clay of the body of the flask provides a nice play of values. The body of the flask has a Shino glaze, which provides a warm, orange glow to the stoneware clay. The piece was fired in my wood kiln to cone 9.
I am trying to challenge myself to get my work “out there.” When you teach full-time at a community college (where there is seldom emphasis placed on research in your field) as I have for the past several years, it is difficult to find the time to get work done in your own studio – and even more difficult to find the time to promote and exhibit your work. But, now that I’ve retired from college teaching, I am rededicating myself to my own studio practice - and that includes exhibiting my work, if I am so lucky.
I have a website: www.badwolfpottery.com
And, I have a Facebook page for my studio: www.facebook.com/BadWolfPottery/
Michelle's Ringed Shino Flask won the Overall Best in Show Award.
My artwork is about the connections that bring seemingly disparate worlds and ideas joyfully together. Animals and animalian humanoids appear frequently as whimsical characters. I feel a great connection to and influence from the world of dreams. Dreams are the mind’s way of processing and expressing intense emotions and experiences. These raw emotional connections seek to bring the viewer back to a place in childhood where the heart understood the world before the eye and mind did. Growing up in Cuba after the collapse of the Soviet Union, when being well fed was a rare luxury, nature was my toybox. Death and decomposition were a part of daily life. I remember feeling an innocent curiosity about animals rotting in the dirt, seeing beauty in their bones as I saw beauty in the creature that had been alive not long before. When I moved to New Orleans, I felt a deep connection to the way death is celebrated here as a part of loving life. The music and spirit of the places I have lived have deeply influenced me as well, and my work is frequently imbued with this music that is like a spiritual pulse.
Ramiro's Coffee Mug won Best of Category for Coffee:
I graduated from the Appalachian Center for Craft in December 2017. I graduated with a BFA in Ceramics and a minor in Social & Behavioral Science. I’m currently the Gallery Manager at the Craft Center and I also teach ceramics to high school students through the Appalachian Center for Craft’s Focus on Fine Craft Program. I enjoy spending time with my husband and our two cats and two rabbits. I also like to garden and explore the many waterfalls and state parks we have here in Tennessee.
While in high school, my art class took several field trips to the Appalachian Center for Craft. From the first visit, I knew that I wanted to study at the Craft Center. It’s beautiful location and amazing facilities was the best place for me to pursue art.
My forms are thrown on the potter’s wheel and then altered and pinched to leave my own touch, documenting my relationship to each vessel. I paint quick, expressive imagery using Amaco Underglazes, inspired by my perception of environments I’ve encountered in my life. I carve through my imagery to reveal my terracotta clay body beneath, providing contrast in each piece. This process is called sgraffito. My pots are then bisque fired to Cone 08 (1728 degrees), glazed in a clear glaze, and then fired again to Cone 3 (2106 degrees).
I mix my own Stephenson Terracotta at the Appalachian Center for Craft. I also mix my own white slip and glaze recipes. I currently fire to Cone 3 in an electric kiln, but I enjoy atmospheric firing, and have fired our Salt, Soda, and Wood kilns at the Craft Center. Salt firing is my favorite.
I enjoyed decorating my Red Flower tumbler, I don’t usually use red underglaze!
I was a part of this show last year, so I wanted to apply again this year!
Galleries: Appalachian Center for Craft Retail Gallery, Smithville, TN
I currently live in Dallas, Texas, with my husband, two giant dogs, two cats, and a constantly revolving collection of foster animals. However, I grew up in the Twin Cities and also spent two years in rural Japan after college. I work out of my home studio and spend my free time rescuing animals and performing at the local renaissance festival. Though I grew up in a very sheltered and conservative environment, my work now talks about sex, sexuality, and how they intersect with politics and society.
In high school, I was a ceramic sculptor, and I thought I would do that forever. I didn't think functional ceramics could possibly be art. That changed in college. On my first day of Introductory Ceramics, my professor, Peter Beasecker, spent the class showing us all how to throw a cylinder on the wheel. After the class, as the cocky sophomore that I was, I went up to him and said that functional ceramics was okay and all, but could I please just work on my sculptures? He laughed at me and told me in no uncertain terms that I would learn to work on the wheel just like everyone else. It turned out that I had a knack for it, and he introduced me to the work of all sorts of incredible potters. I soon realized that functional ceramics could absolutely be art, and I was hooked.
I work mostly on the wheel and then alter the pieces afterward. I use porcelaneous stoneware because it has the best of both worlds: the beautiful white canvas of porcelain and the forgiveness of stoneware when I'm altering and cutting up/combining pieces when they're wet. After I've finished the form of my pots, I use the mishima process to draw erotic line drawings on the pots, and then I surround the images with commercially available decals (either underglaze tissue transfers or overglaze water-slide decals). I fire my pots in an electric kiln to ^5 and use commercial glazes. After all that, I add gold luster and fire the pots again to ^018.
My favorite piece I have in this show is my martini cup. Technically, it was the most difficult piece to make of all four. I threw the cup in one piece on the wheel and getting the stem so narrow while still being able to flare out the bowl as much as I did was very difficult. Though I've made many martini cups and wine goblets in this style, I still struggle to get them right, and it's always hugely satisfactory when they come out well.
Of all the pots I make and use daily, cups are my favorite. They are the most intimate of all pots. Cups are the ones that actually touch the user's lips. Cups are what deliver the two most fabulous things in existence: caffeine and alcohol. Cups are life-giving. For that reason, I love all cup shows.
As an artist who is inspired by the natural landscape, I spend a lot of time outdoors whether it is hiking or attending the plants around my home. The natural landscape has always been a place where I can find solitude and direction during all moments of life. As a result, the work is both an encapsulation of emotion and a reinterpretation of the landscape produced from this immersion.
I was first introduced to pottery when I was in high school, but it was not until I began attending a ceramics club in college that I began expressing a desire to explore this medium further. After a month attending the club, I changed my major so that I could concentrate in the Ceramic Arts.
My preferences to making teacups is to throw them off the hump with either a brown or white stoneware. The Teacups accepted in this event have both been fired in a Cone 10 reduction. I also prefer to make my own glazes so that I can leave room for experimentation with the raw materials and how they respond to the clay.
My favorite piece accepted for this show is the Teacup as the form has been shaped to welcome the hands. When those hands hold the piece, the texture is a reminder of the landscape from which it was inspired.
I was inspired to apply to this show because the theme of the show is something I strongly connect with. The drinking vessel has been an invaluable tool throughout history. Appreciating this fact, I believe the work I make may contribute to this celebration.
I am 24 years old. I am from Illinois, which is also where I am currently working towards my Bachelors in Fine Arts, majoring in ceramics, at Southern University of Illinois, Edwardsville. In my free time I love playing with my two dogs, going on hikes, kayaking, and gardening with my significant other. I am also an avid traveler with a profound love for the Ocean, which is where I draw my inspiration. That being said, I will not be able to attend this show because I will be doing a work study in Italy this summer, which can be fallowed on my instagrams!
I first got introduced to ceramics when I was in high school, and then took ceramics an elective in college and really fell in love with the wheel. After that I realized ceramics was my calling and have been pursuing it ever since!
First Starting out I mainly used white stoneware, however these days I prefer porcelain. All things in this show are wheel thrown and then altered once they are leather hard. For the conch-shaped cups I cut them in half and reattach them to have an overhanging handle that is still a part of the pot. The reason for these handles is to hug the user's hand while holding it. Then the bottoms are removed and rebuilt using coils to create the spiraling base. The base for the Supported Cup, was a thrown bowl flipped upside down and then altered to fit that specific cup. The coral handled cups I squeeze coils to fit comfortably in the hand, then stipple them using 3 types of tools and attach them at leather hard. I create a variety of textures on all my pottery some are impressions from found objects and some are carved, but my most prominent texture is the barnacles. For these I had made a mold so that I can produce them a lot quicker, because each barnacle was tediously stippled. When glazing I use studio-made glazes, along with black slip and commercial under glazes. When firing I use cone 10 atmospheric salt kilns, because I really enjoy that the salt itself becomes a glaze.
My favorite cup is most likely the Coral Cup, even though I no longer use stoneware, the glazes I used on this cup turned out beautifully and I love how it fits in the hand.
My professor inspired us students to reach out to different shows. I make a lot of drinking vessels so when I saw the call for this show I felt like I'd be a perfect fit!
I am still working on an artist website, but my art work can be followed at passport_pottery on Instagram and my travels and other adventures on @tempo381 Instagram!
I am currently working towards my BFA in Sculpture are Purdue University Fort Wayne. I describe myself as a potter and a sculptor. I work primarily in clay, creating different vessel forms, as well as life size figurative sculptures. I intend to graduate in about a year and a half, then head off to graduate school. My ultimate goal is to become a ceramics professor and to be able to inspire my students to become successful and happy individuals.
I was in high school when I first became interested in clay. I was the teacher’s assistant for the art teacher and she had me helping her with an introductory ceramics class. This was the first time that I realized I wanted to be a teacher. I began working with clay on an old stone kick wheel. There was just something mesmerizing and relaxing about the physical process of kicking the wheel, steadying my hands, and creating something out of nothing.
I work with a brown stoneware made by Laguna Clay. I use this clay for both throwing and sculpting, making it highly versatile for me, which is what I love the most about it. We make our own glazes at Purdue University Fort Wayne. I have worked as the work-study lab assistant, so I have made every glaze that we currently have. We mostly fire to cone 10 and we have several kilns. I used to fire mainly in a Bailey gas kiln, but over the past two years, we have built a wood-fire kiln and a soda kiln. I now fire in all three kilns, it just depends on the desired effect that I am looking for. The three pieces that are within this show were all fired in our very first firing of our brand-new soda kiln.
My favorite piece is the Sake Set that was accepted for this event. It was the first time that I was able to create a set such as this one. I am just incredibly happy with how the glaze turned out, and the way that the glaze pools around the foot of each piece. I also felt that the glaze fits the shape of the vessel well.
I had a professional practice class with my ceramics professor. One of our assignments was to pick a few shows and apply to one. I picked five shows and applied to all five. This show also looked extremely exciting to me because I had just finished creating several different forms of drinking vessels and I thought it would be great to enter those pieces into the show. I also planned on getting an internship in Colorado, so I thought I might be able to attend the show!
I post my work on my Facebook page ocassionally: Katherine Gaff
Most of my work is on my Instagram: @katherinegaff
John Randolph Hamilton III
I am a studio potter living in Arvada, CO with my wife of 12 years and two daughters, 3 and 9. I am also currently an artist in residence and teacher at the Arvada Center for the Arts and Humanities. I have been working with clay for the last 16 years and began my professional career in 2012 after graduating from Fort Hays State University in Kansas. After learning the potters wheel and other ceramic techniques in high school, I decided that I wanted to be an art teacher, I then took my first pottery class in Junior College and began to pursue a second degree in fine arts specifically for ceramics. I currently sell my work in various art festivals in Colorado and the surrounding states, as well as Plinth Gallery in Denver.
I work with many aspects of making things in clay. My Rocket cups, tumblers and mugs are all wheel thrown. I love making closed forms, which began my idea of creating the rockets. my handles are made using an extruder and sprig mold for the bolts. My glazing is pretty simple but tedious. I use under glazes applied by sponging hand cut stencils, apply wax to my images and dip in various homemade glazes. The actual rockets are fired in cone 5 oxidation, the tumblers and mugs in cone ten reduction. The shot glass was created specifically for this show using the slip casting method. I began constructing a model using found objects and made a three-part casting mold where the piece is cast in one part and the details added on by stamping and the use of more sprig molds. I love the process of found object sculpture and mold making, so I would consider this to be my favorite piece for the show.
I was told about your show from one of your members, Deborah Hager.
Gallery- Plinth Gallery, 3520 Brighton Blvd, Denver, CO 80216
James' Rocket Show won the Best of Spirits Category award
More potters in the 2nd installment of this Blog article.
We love when we get to showcase art by Manitou Art Center artists. This show features potters Madalyn Kae and Robin Scappaticci, sculptor and figure artist Nancy Morse, and printmaker Ramona Lapsley. Together they will fill our gallery space with whimsical and colorful art to delight the eye and the imagination.
I am a Colorado artist who is interested in many mediums. I love the abstract expression of clay and am fascinated by rhythm, repetition, and the movement of textures. I find the marriage of function, expression, and beauty to be very rewarding. I am passionate about portraiture and figurative work and study them in my sculpture, painting, and drawing. I have been studying the figure and portrait for almost thirty years, attending figure drawing groups whenever possible. Sometimes (not as many as one would hope) getting a drawing or painting that can be, in itself, a finished product, but often I use sketches to then work into sculptures. I am excited to have the opportunity with this show to pull all forms of my art together in one venue.
Recently, I have started spending more of my time on sculpture. Many years ago, I started a series of “Gargoyle Coat-hooks” inspired by my travels in Europe. I have once again returned to the image and function of these. I find humanity (in all forms) and therefore the representation of it in art beautiful and fascinating. And hope the viewing public can see that as well.
My work is expressive and indicative of the whimsy I see in the world around me. The creative process is like an expanded reality that is exciting, invigorating, and sometimes, in the most rewarding way, takes on a life of its own. For example, when a small unintended smudge or line in a drawing ends up being an important part of the finished piece.
Visitors are welcome at my studio in the Manitou Art Center backdoor studio and quite often my work can be found in shows there. My work can also be seen online at nancymorseart.com and at the Boulder Street Gallery at 206 North Tejon Street, in downtown Colorado Springs.
I have had a lot of fun creating my “Fabulous Flock” for the “Whimsy” show. Each porcelain bird is individually handmade and between 18 and 23 inches tall.
It is challenging to work with ceramic porcelain at such a large scale, especially when it involves body attachments such as wings and beaks. After much trial and error these fabulous creatures arrived, each with a distinctive personality!
I have been an artist since I was 8. The love of drawing and the encouragement of friends and family have motivated me to continue to draw, print, paint, and teach art. I have been printmaking for the last twenty years. I am fortunate to have access to the press and studio at the Manitou Art Center.
Making art is putting a visual image reflecting thoughts, interests, and experiences on paper or in another media. Art is a way of bringing something important to light for others to see and enjoy. Sometimes words just can't convey what ideas I want to bring forth.
I have been working with images of fish and more recently birds. Colorado sport fish have been an interest for a really long time and more recently I have been depicting birds found in my neighborhood and at my feeders. There is a fun almost whimsical nature both in fish, and fishing, as well as bird communities.
My linoleum prints start as sketches in my sketchbook from ideas or photos I've taken. I draw on the linoleum block with a sharpie and then carve out the white spaces. Using a brayer I apply a layer of black oil based ink on the block and then place paper on top. The image is transferred to the paper by pressing it thought the printing press. Later, water-based inks and colors are hand painted on the print.
I like elements of design like the grid, square, pattern and contrast so I work those into my design. I have to like the image as a black and white print and then most likely add color to it. To the viewer, those same things are appealing. I also want people to see fish differently perhaps as well as birds. I want people to interact with the idea that you don't have to go far to experience nature. Fish can be spotted in the Ruxton creek across the street from the studio and birds are right outside my window. Both require observation and appreciation.
I really like my newest print of the two woodpeckers. Although I have them perched on trees, it is really funny to watch them try to hang on to tube bird feeders.
My work can be viewed at the Manitou Art Center Print studio as well as the gift gallery at the Colorado Springs Fine Art Center, the Sangre De Cristo Art Center, and the Lapis gallery in Denver on Tennyson.
I grew up in the Hudson Valley in New York State. I took my first ceramics class in high school and fell in love with clay. I continued taking classes in college and ended up with a major and the idea of being a production potter, which did not work. After 25 years, I fell back in love after taking a summer class.
I make pots for the joy of it. I love everything about it—working with the clay to form the piece, deciding what laces to use, thinking about and adding color, firing, and opening the kiln hoping for a successful outcome—even glazing has become enjoyable.
Making art is about joy. It has been many years since I have thought that I could make a living at it. It takes way too long for me to make a finished piece. It is something that I do for myself. I love going to the studio and working. It is time that is completely mine. I love it when people appreciate what I make.
I have used lace for about 10 years in in my work to create patterns and texture, and it makes a way to add color that works for me. Two years ago, I made a few flowers, and I had thought I would like to make more but never took the time. This show called “Whimsy” gave me the opportunity.
Water Flower was the first piece that I made for this show, where, for me, form and color came together.
My work is in 45 Degree at 2528 W Colorado Ave in Colorado Springs. https://www.45degreegallery.com/
How long have you been part of Commonwheel?
I have been a member of Commonwheel for just over a year.
What does making art mean to you?
Making art is a way to take the creative ideas that are inside my head and give them physical form. There is great satisfaction in using a simple ubiquitous material—clay—to create something useful, sculptural or thought provoking.
What are you currently working on?
I recently built a soda kiln and this type of firing process is my current obsession. I have fired my kiln 10 times and I feel I am just starting to scratch the surface on getting my work to a place where I can expect some reliably, consistent results. This is all part of the intrigue and excitement of starting a new process.
Tell us about your process. Walk us through the steps of your flowing creativity to achieve one of your works.
In a soda kiln, you spray a mixture of soda ash (sodium carbonate) dissolved in hot water into the kiln at high temperature (2300). This is carried through the kiln and onto the surface of the clay pieces reacting to the silica and alumina in the clay body creating a glazed surface and reacting with other surface decorations.
What emotions/reactions/thoughts do you want to cause/explore/achieve on the public looking at your artwork?
When people look at my work, I hope they try to discover the nuances of the making process and the surface decorations that are transformed through the soda firing that is both science and magic. Perhaps they will pick up a piece to see that the foot has been cut in a subtle but particular way or that a carved line has picked up the soda from the kiln to cause a slight variation in color and see that the small blue dot of glaze has even smaller crystal formations within.
What is your favorite piece recent work? And why?
This little piece is one of my favorites. It was from my very first firing of the soda kiln. It captures the movement of the flame and bleaching action of the soda and erases some of the surface slip letting you know that something was once there while revealing what it could have been through what you can see.
Anything else you’d like to tell us about yourself?
I live in La Veta, Colorado with my sweet husband and two cats and have a compact bright ceramics studio. For a decade we owned and operating an art gallery in La Veta. The gallery continues to this day celebrating many local and regional artists.
I have been an adjunct art instructor since 2006 at Colorado State University in Pueblo and have instructed ceramics students from beginners to graduate students. I also teache kid’s classes, workshops and private lessons.
One of my most rewarding experiences has been that for three consecutive years I traveled with a team of ceramic artists to Port-au-Prince, Haiti to teach pottery making skills to employees of an art-based, socially conscious business called Papillion Enterpises. These women have become extremely skilled potters and sell their work to support their families.
Where can we find your work: website, social media, local stores.
Gallery 113, Colorado Springs, Colorado
La Veta Gallery on Main, La Veta, Colorado
and of course, Commonwheel!
Originally from St. Louis, m. jo hart moved to Colorado in 2015 after receiving her MFA in Ceramics from Illinois State University. She has a B.A. in Visual Communications and has worked as an Art Director/Graphic Designer in the corporate sector, non-profit, and public/private design industries with over 35+ years experience. Hart considers herself both an artist and maker. She creates highly decorative functional pottery along with sculptural work that primarily focuses on female issues.
During her time as a designer she sought out ways to create for herself and was reacquainted with clay, remembering the fun she had in the clay studio as an undergrad. For years she attended classes at a local pottery studio and began selling her work. Later in her life an opportunity to apply to graduate school presented itself and she fully immersed herself in a 3-year program where she discovered a passion for working with the figure in clay, primarily on female issues. Attending graduate school as an older student, Hart was confronted with many hurdles and presented with countless opportunities for evolving as an artist.
Today, Hart works as an artist/maker, leaving the corporate world in the dust and no longer having to be contained in a cubicle. Recently she began collaborating with her partner, combining his woodworking craft and her porcelain art. Hart teaches workshops in clay and other mediums and finds the creative process at times more satisfying than the outcome. As a self-supporting artist her piggy bank is often not as full as it was but she wouldn’t trade this life for anything.
Hart can be contacted at email@example.com