Shi Shaoping is a Chinese sculptor artist. He originally began his career as a Stage Artist and Director for a Shanghai theatre group, until he quit to be a full time artist. He aims to ignore current trends of contemporary art such as gender, politics, and economics, focusing rather on more organic symbols that offer a freer interpretation to the viewer. One of his recent works titled The Metamorphosis Series – The Eggs is a series of installations across China’s most desolate landscapes. He took a year to fire 3,000 ceramic eggs, each weighing about 22 pounds. The eggs are then left to interact with their landscape, creating a visual commentary on the cycle and the fragility of life.

Julia Haft-Candell is a Los Angeles based ceramics artist, who often incorporates other mediums into her sculptures and installations. She was educated locally, with a masters degree from Cal State Long Beach. Her work includes a mix of stoneware and porcelain, and conceptually it questions the relationships between science and philosophy in view of sculpture.  Her work seems to build out of itself, with the focus being on the space in between two contrasting forms. To her, this represents the constant stream of contradictions that we experience in our daily life. Her work reads as a physical record of its own making, with every component in view.

Clare Twomey is a British ceramicist who works in large scale installations and site specific works. Her art has been exhibited worldwide in cities such as London and Kyoto. Her installations use the historical and social context that they are placed in as a point of reference for their content. Oftentimes these pieces exist only within these spaces. The installation often disappears or gets destroyed over the course of the exhibition, which is often a feature of her work. Even the behavior of the viewer is planned into her pieces. One such piece, Trophy, was installed at the Victoria and Albert Museum in London. It included over 4,000 birds made out of Wedgewood Jasper blue clay. The viewer was invited to take a bird, freely “collecting” a valuable object from the museum.

Katherine Dube is a contemporary ceramic artist. She works with a variety of forms and pieces, including installation. She creates wall installations that interact with their environment. She specifically chooses man made architectural spaces for her pieces, which contrast with their growth-like, organic forms.  Dube is inspired by science and ecosystems, so her work becomes a systematic observation of the space it inhabits (whether that space be an office building or a the interior of a private residence). She incorporates both porcelain and stoneware in her work to represent both fragility and strength. Because many of her forms are similar, repetition and meditation are inherent themes in her work.

Takeshi Yasuda was born in Japan in 1943. He began his pottery career in 1963 when he began training at the Daisei-Gama Pottery studio.  He has since established himself in Britain and China, displaying his work in major collections. His current work features celadon-glazed porcelain, although he has experimented with ash-glazed stoneware and creamware in the past. He creates wheel-thrown pots meant to be used.  Since the 1990s he has continued to experiment with celadon glazing, creating his own custom mixtures. Most of his pieces are dishes for serving food, with generous dishes and plates, which encourage the celebration and ritual of enjoying a meal.

Marlene Jack is a U.S. based ceramicist, working from Virginia. She is inspired by Japanese folk pottery, but seeks to put a more contemporary spin on her work. A lot of her pieces include raised o carved textural designs for glaze to play against. She balances these features well, stating that “Small details are used for emphasis or focus, while attempting to use embellishment in quiet, subtle moderation.” Her process is a combination of both handbuilding techniques and throwing on the wheel. She often will throw her pieces without a base, so that she can move the walls into the more angular forms that she prefers.

Chris Keenan is a British ceramicist currently working in London. His work is sold widely throughout the United Kingdom.  His work is thrown Limoges porcelain, with forms inspired by Japanese pottery. He uses primarily two glazes in his work: glossy black/brown tenmoku and pale blue celadon. All of his work is both beautiful and completely functional, with clean lines and simple forms. Even though he works with the same ideas and glazes over and over, he manages to come up with new forms and effects every time. All of his pieces seem like they could function in the same set, but we are never tired of the repetition in his work.

Adam Welch is the resident Lecturer in Visual Arts at Princeton and the Director of Greenwich House Pottery. His work “incorporates design, documentation and intervention to investigate history and material culture” (artist’s statement). He focuses on the form of a brick as a universally used and recognized means of construction in his pieces. He hand molds the bricks traditionally using clay, and as a result the making of these bricks becomes performative. Since these bricks are not being used for any functional purpose, his work also explores the meaning of performing a task for the sake of doing so. He recently has taken to using Martha Stewart’s interior house paint line, because every color combination functions harmoniously, yet still has strong references to culture and suburban life.

1) Welch Brick Martha’s Shiner

brick, paint 2012

2)     Running Shiners

bricks, mortar, paint 2010

16in x 15in x 4in

3) Martha’s 12 and the Compliments

bricks, wood, paint 2010

74 in x 50 in x 3 in

4) 9 Glazed Soldiers

brick, glaze 2006

Paper clay is the mix of processed fiber materials (paper being the most common) and any clay body. The more paper that is added, the stronger the dry unfired piece, but the weaker the fired body, and vice versa. Ancient cultures would mix unprocessed fiber materials such as straw into their clay for making bricks, but adding paper is a relatively new phenomenon. Professional ceramic artists have steadily increased their usage of paper clay because of its ability to create tall, thin forms without cracking. Paper clay also allows for dry-to-dry joining, so the technical advantages of paper clay have become popular amongst amateur and professional artists. Also, because of the novelty of this material, there is no aesthetic that is associated with it yet, so new artists have comparative freedom to develop their own work.

Tips for making your own paper clay:

-the thicker the fiber material (ie egg cartons or carboard), will be strong and last longer, but it’s harder to create the clay initially. Thinner material such as toilet paper dissolves easier but goes bad faster

-soak fiber material in water first to dissolve it before mixing with clay

-you can a teaspoon of dish soap to preserve the mix longer

Artists working with Paper Clay:

Malene Pedersen, Graham Hay, Jerry Bennet

Daniela Schlagenhauf is a Swiss ceramics artist who resides in France. Here is where she first learned ceramic techniques, developing her own artistic style. She combines old techniques with new advancements such as china paper and soil mixtures in her clay. She is renowned for her slab built abstract creations, which seem to defy gravity. Daniela also specializes in lettering, calligraphy, and collage, and many of these elements come to play in her ceramic work. She uses these elements in an aesthetic sense, not conveying any meaning directly. In a series of installations titled “Resonances”, she creates pieces that are thought to be the “rhythm and dynamics “of minimalist music and dance, such as that of Philip Glass or Anne Teresa de Keersmaeker.

1)      Resonance 1

2011

Ceramic Installation

Each piece made out of a 65 cm x 11 cm slab

2)      Resonance 2

2010

Ceramic Installation

3)      Resonance 3

2011

Ceramic Installation

4)      Resonance 4

2012

Ceramic Installation