Tag Archives: The Cup The Mug 2019

Inside the Artist’s studio with Jill Bell

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Hi. I’m Jill Bell.  As an non-sporty kid growing up in suburban Newark, Delaware, I took my first ceramics class at age 6.  From the start I loved everything about clay. From the dusty, damp earthy smell of the studio to being able to make tangible objects from the ideas in my kid brain.  As I got older, I tried other mediums but found ceramics was how I best expressed myself and my love of clay stuck.

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I received a BFA from Moore College of Art & Design and an MFA from Virginia Commonwealth University. Upon finishing graduate school, I lived in Maine for 9 months as a Watershed Center for the Ceramic Arts winter resident. It was there, frustrated with building larger sculptural pieces with the local clay and having them crack, I decided to change things up. I was  inspired by a chowder bowl project we did with the local community and began making bowls and cups of my own.

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My cups and bowls are formed pretty much the same way any kid would have been taught to do it day 1 of their first ceramics class. Roll a slab. Score and slip it and stick it together. Roll another piece. Score and slip that and stick it to the bottom. You’ve got yourself a cup.

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With my sculptures I shy away from shiny. I much prefer surfaces that are textured, with a dry or matte finish. I achieve this through multi-firing a variety of under-glazes and different oxide washes. In the case of my cups and mugs, I’ll use a white glaze on the inside and a commercial clear on the outside to create a more finished look.

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For almost 10 years now I have been a member of Clayworks on Columbia, an amazing group studio space located in the Carrol Gardens neighborhood of Brooklyn, NY. Started by Deborah McDermott and several other ceramic artists 20 years ago (we  just celebrated our 20th anniversary), the studio consists of a collection of ceramic artists of varying ages, backgrounds, styles and experience. There is a true community spirit amongst the members and students at Clayworks and belonging to a studio space where  everyone so readily supports, inspires and respects one another has been immeasurable.

I have a full time job and a family so I’m only able to get to my studio a few times a week. When I’m there, I’m there to WORK. That said, studio time is also my podcast time. I’m not ashamed to admit that I love and listen to almost exclusively,  podcasts about the paranormal, conspiracy theories and UFOs. I know what you’re thinking, “tin foil hat?” but I was a kid of the 80’s.  I grew up with a healthy fear of Santanists, TV shows like In Search of… with Leonard Nimoy and ransacking the local library for anything I could get my hands on about witchcraft, Bigfoot and alien abductions. Today’s world feels crazier then ever. My studio time is a buffer from all that, somewhere I can go to escape. When I’m there, I like to be able to immerse myself in the things that make me happy.

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Instagram: jillmarleahbell_ceramics


Jill Bell is one of 44 artists included in the 4th annual The Cup, The Mug exhibition on the second floor at Main Street Arts, a national juried exhibition of drinking vessels. Work from the exhibition can be previewed and purchased through the gallery’s online shop. The Cup, The Mug runs through December 14, 2019.

Inside the Artist’s Studio with Gretchen Quinn

Gretchen in her downtown Raleigh studio. Photo credit: Juli Leonard

Gretchen in her downtown Raleigh studio. Photo credit: Juli Leonard

Hello, I am Gretchen Quinn. I’m a full-time potter living and working in Raleigh, NC. and I have two mugs in The Cup, The Mug 2019 show at Main Street Arts. I make functional pottery with a clean, modern feel. The inspiration for my work comes mainly from what I want to have and use in my own home. I’m definitely under the spell of well-made crafts and much of what I make spins out from my love of Danish Modern and Shaker designs where simplicity, utility and honesty are among the guiding principles in their work.

Finished work for sale at the studio.

Finished work for sale at the studio.

My pieces are all handmade out of a beautiful dark brown stoneware clay and glazed in glossy white. I decorate my pots with a variety of hand-carved patterns or 22K gold luster. In the decoration process I never use pre-made patterns, templates or textures. To me, it’s the freehand markings that makes my pots feel fresh and modern and what tells the user that every piece is handmade.

My favorite part of the process.

My favorite part of the process.

Six years ago, I moved from working in a community studio to a private space. In the community studio I had a wide range of clay bodies and glaze colors available, so I always felt compelled to use them all. When I became responsible for ordering my own clay and making my glaze I decided to narrow my focus to one clay body and one glazed for a year. While I initially did this for practicality, this shift in materials is really what gave birth of my current Mix & Match collection and all these years later I’m still focused on one clay and one glaze. I love how the Mix & Match aspect of my work makes customers active participants in building their collections. Some customers will choose to stay with just one pattern, others will select a few, while some just go for it all!

A recent custom dinner plate order.

A recent custom dinner plate order.

My serious study of ceramics started at Providence College, where I received a BA in sculpture and made most of my work in clay. After graduation, I worked as a graphic designer and made pots on the side. I never stepped away from clay, but I didn’t see an avenue to make it my full-time profession. It took a cross country move from Seattle to Raleigh for me to finally take the leap into clay full-time. I’m now over 6 years in and have seen a steady, organic growth in the quality of my work and in my business. In addition to my studio work I teach ceramics at the North Carolina State University Crafts Center. The combination of teaching and making work for my business has been a huge point of growth. It forced me to slow down and think through my technique and reflect on the elements that go into making a good pot.

Mix & Match lamps.

Mix & Match lamps.

My studio is a space that I share with three other female potters. We run our businesses independently and make very different work, but we are all equally committed to our love for working in clay. Being able to share our kiln firings and buy our clay together in bulk allows us to speed the making process and to save on our material expenses. It makes for an interesting dynamic as we are all from different backgrounds and generations, but together we freely share our vast clay skills and push each other forward in our work and our businesses.

At work in my studio. Photo credit: Juli Leonard

At work in my studio.
Photo credit: Juli Leonard

I am truly thrilled that I get to work with clay every day. There is just something magical about turning a humble lump of clay into a beautiful, functional product. See more of my work at www.gretchenquinn.com and follow me on Instagram @gretchen.quinn


Gretchen Quinn is one of 44 artists included in the 4th annual The Cup, The Mug exhibition on the second floor at Main Street Arts, a national juried exhibition of drinking vessels. Work from the exhibition can be previewed and purchased through the gallery’s online shop. The Cup, The Mug runs through December 14, 2019.

Inside the Artist’s Studio with Jarrod Dahl

Turning end grain cups in my workshop at a Japanese-style lathe. woodspirithandcraft.com

Turning end grain cups in my workshop at a Japanese-style lathe. woodspirithandcraft.com

I am Jarrod Dahl, a craftsperson, teacher, and writer from Northern Wisconsin. I have been working with wood since 1996. Although I got my start designing and building traditional timber framed homes I slowly moved from the building trades to traditional craft. Today my time is split teaching handcraft and designing and making a wide variety of ‘domestic craft objects’. Currently my focus is on woodenware.

Wooden cups with urushi lacquer finish. Woodspirithandcraft.com

Wooden cups with urushi lacquer finish inspired by my research/study trips to Japan these last 2 years. woodspirithandcraft.com

I work together with my wife and one assistant to create high quality handmade goods. I specialize in turning freshly harvested wood, known as green wood, into cups, handled mugs, bowls, plates, and lidded boxes and I carve a wide variety of utensils.

Spoon carving.

Carving a wooden spoon with a Swedish craft knife.

Spoon design possibilities are endless.

Spoon design possibilities are endless. woodspirithandcraft.com

I am one of the few professional woodturners in the world (no joke) whose specialty is using a foot-powered spring pole lathe. I also use both a Japanese-style and a Western-style electric lathe. I am extremely intrigued by the the textures each of these machines leave on the objects I make. Because of this I also forge my own tools—quite uncommon in the Western wood turning world.

Giving a pole lathe turning demonstration in Borås, Sweden a region famous for 400 years of wood turning.

Giving a pole lathe turning demonstration in Borås, Sweden a region famous for 400 years of wood turning.

Wooden coffee mugs turned from one piece of wood.

Wooden coffee mugs turned from one piece of wood, design inspired by wooden Viking cup shards found in York. woodspirithandcraft.com

I’m inspired by what I understand as wood culture, most of which is from the recent past or even further. It isn’t thought about much, but woodenware was the main tableware for thousands of years in much of the forested lands around the globe. I’ve traveled to places like Sweden and Japan to further my understanding and also to inform my designs. I’ve studied thousands of lidded boxes, bowls and cups in museum archives in Sweden. In Japan where woodenware is very much common place even today, I studied with woodturners, designers, and lacquer artists again to inform my design aesthetics and also to learn how I might be able to bring more appreciation to wooden objects in our modern times.

Tableware

Tableware. woodspirithandcraft.com

Woodenware can be very elegant and beautiful. My designs are conservative and change very slowly through making many pieces in the same style.

Lámhóg is a traditional Irish drinking cup turned from one piece of wood on a reciprocating foot powered pole lathe.

Lámhóg is a traditional Irish drinking cup turned from one piece of wood on a reciprocating foot powered pole lathe. woodspirithandcraft.com

The majority of the wood I use is harvested and milled by myself and my assistant, from trees within miles of my home. I am lucky to be in touch with the whole journey of my product from tree to finished design.

Future wooden items will be made from this backyard Maple tree that came down across the alley from our house.

Future wooden items will be made from this backyard Maple tree that came down across the alley from our house.

A wooden lidded box finished with milk paint and linseed oil.

A wooden lidded box finished with milk paint and linseed oil. woodspirithandcraft.com

I believe that beauty is an important part of daily life and that the handmade wooden object has a part to play in it.

My website is www.woodspirithandcraft.com
Blog: https://www.woodspirithandcraft.com/blog
instagram: @jarrod__dahl and @woodspirithandcraft
Youtube channel: Jarrod Dahl’s Youtube

 


Jarrod Dahl is one of 44 artists included in the 4th annual The Cup, The Mug exhibition on the second floor at Main Street Arts, a national juried exhibition of drinking vessels. Work from the exhibition can be previewed and purchased through the gallery’s online shop. The Cup, The Mug runs through December 14, 2019.

 

Inside the Artist’s Studio with Cole Worden

Cole Worden in the studio

Cole Worden in the studio

Hello, my name is Cole Worden. I am a recent graduate from Bowling Green State University in Ohio, where I received a BFA in studio arts, and I am currently a participant of the working artist program at Longwood University in Farmville, Virginia.

Cup II by Cole Worden included in The Cup, The Mug

Cup II by Cole Worden included in The Cup, The Mug

As far as my personal timeline goes, I am rather new to ceramics. I spent the majority of my youth honing my skills as a musician, which led to a short career as a drummer in an internationally touring metal band. My eyes were opened to a vastly larger world than I could have ever imagined, and became aware of how little I really knew about life. This fueled my curiosity and eventually drove me to drop everything and return to school. I spent two and a half years as a neuroscience major and struggled to adjust to the life of a student, while coming down from a three year high of adrenaline, drugs, rock and roll, and my own inflated ego. It became clear I wasn’t going to make it as a scientist. I took a ceramics class on a whim, trying to find a new path ahead, and was hooked instantly. I accidentally stumbled into a warm, accepting, and challenging community of artists, that helped me to find myself, and a way forward. I graduated in December of 2018, and have since been doing what I can to make it as a ceramic artist.

The original model for a bowl made from MDF and tape with fired bowl

The original model for a bowl made from MDF and tape with fired bowl

So, what does a day in the studio look like for me? Most of my work is slip-cast, so that means I have to go through a pretty extensive process starting from an idea and getting to a finished product. I begin by either making a form from clay, or making a form from MDF, then alter the surface (often with paint, electrical tape, or customized stickers) to get the desired texture I want. Then I take a plaster mold of the object, which I can later cast from with slip. Once I have the object in porcelain, I apply various washes, wax, and glazes to achieve the desired coloration.

Applying wash to bisquware

Applying wash to bisquware

While I am casting from the molds I have, in a more rigid production sort of process, I’m simultaneously working out how to improve on what I have, and brainstorming for the next form I want to make. Alternating between production and creation keeps my day interesting, and every step has room for creativity. So, despite the rigid replication that comes with slip casting, I like to make subtle changes all the time to make each piece unique.

Much of my time in the studio, I can be found with headphones in, which half of the time are playing metal. Growing up, one of the most influential forms of visual art for me was the album art and graphic design on cd covers and band merch. I think on a deeper level, most of my aesthetic decisions have roots in metal/rock/punk culture, whether they are immediately apparent or not. The other half is spent listening to audiobooks or podcasts, generally in the realm of science or philosophy. Learning about and pondering the nature of our reality through reason and experimentation provides for me a sort of spiritual satisfaction that no religion has been able to do.

Cole Worden pouring slip from a mold

Cole Worden pouring slip from a mold

Pouring slip from a mold

Pouring slip from a mold

These ideas permeate into my work, along with my love for architecture, and all of the media I consume, creating a chimeric brain baby that usually pops out in the form of a pot. Which begs the question, why pottery?

I’ve been asking myself this question for a while now, and for many reasons I love the process of making pottery. I find my flow through physical action. My mind and body are both engaged creatively and intellectually. But I think those personally gratifying aspects wouldn’t be worth it without being able to serve someone else. The utility of pottery is common across all walks of human life, and I am happy to provide someone with that utility. Plus, I can hint at little nuggets of ideas for someone to contemplate with their morning coffee, and that’s fun for me.

Cup 1 by Cole Worden included in The Cup, The Mug

Cup 1 by Cole Worden included in The Cup, The Mug

Thanks to Main Street Arts Gallery for giving me the opportunity to share with you a little bit about myself and my process. If you’d like to know more, or find more of my work, you can visit my:

Website: coleworden.com
Instagram: @coleworden
Etsy: Etsy.com/shop/colewordenartworks
Or contact me at: cwordenart@gmail.com


Cole Worden is one of 44 artists included in the 4th annual The Cup, The Mug exhibition on the second floor at Main Street Arts, a national juried exhibition of drinking vessels. Work from the exhibition can be previewed and purchased through the gallery’s online shop. The Cup, The Mug runs through December 14, 2019.

 

Inside the Artist’s Studio with Emile Bouvet-Boisclair

I am a French Canadian born ceramic artist, residing in Chicago, IL for the last decade. 

artist Emilie Bouvet-Boisclair

Artist and a board of marbled cups. Photo by: Alexis Bouvet-Boisclair

Clay entered my life when I was 13. I was gifted lessons for Christmas with studio potter Lloyd Fitzsimmons. I long considered myself a painter, eventually graduating from State University at Geneseo with a BA in Fine Arts and a concentration in figure studies and water color. Despite this, as a teen, I purchased a potters wheel with my babysitting money before graduating from high school, and in my 20s, continued to enroll at local ceramic studios from time to time. Throwing pots was a welcome release from the seriousness with which I approached my canvases.

This set depicts flora and fauna native to North America- the Cuckoo bird and Paw Paw tree- one of the few fruiting trees native to this continent.

This set depicts flora and fauna native to North America- the Cuckoo bird and Paw Paw tree- one of the few fruiting trees native to this continent.

When I began merging my painting experience with clay, pottery making took on a more serious role in my life. I approached glazing pots with the eye of an oil painter — layering techniques of line inlay, and sculpture with glazes, colored slips and stains to achieve depth and nuanced color.

Jewelry box with typical adornment of flowers and also brains. Jewelry boxes are often gifted to young girls, one of many ways we initiate their values and status in society - this serves as a reminder of the importance of intellect.

Jewelry box with typical adornment of flowers and also brains. Jewelry boxes are often gifted to young girls, one of many ways we initiate their values and status in society – this serves as a reminder of the importance of intellect.

My work addresses an appreciation of nature and a hope to conserve the environment. 

birch wood inspired vases by Emilie Bouvet-Boisclair

The stillness of a birch wood forest is captured in my speckled line of vases.

The animals in my work often have very emotive facial characteristics — with the goal of creating a connection between the viewer and subject.

pufferfish planters by Emilie Bouvet-Boisclair

Pufferfish planters

Humans need to be better stewards of our shared home. Many of us live lives away from the small wonders of the natural world, wrapped in a bustling concrete jungles distracted by bright screens, crowded buses, and constant distraction . It is easy to forget our dependance and interconnectedness with our environments, and also all the creatures that share the earth with us.

Large bowl featuring puffins in a melting arctic with a rainbow throughout. The rainbow refers to a Christian story of Noah's Arc, and God's promise not to flood the earth ever again. We find ourselves in a time when sea levels are rising as a result of human industry; and our leaders are in position to play god to our planet, weather for better or for the self interest of the few.

Large bowl featuring puffins in a melting arctic with a rainbow throughout. The rainbow refers to a Christian story of Noah’s Arc, and God’s promise not to flood the earth ever again. We find ourselves in a time when sea levels are rising as a result of human industry; and our leaders are in position to play god to our planet, weather for better or for the self interest of the few.

Puffin and Rainbow Bowl (D) copy

Detail from Puffin and Rainbow Bowl.

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Photo by: Alexis Bouvet-Boisclair

My studio practice balances my love of sitting down and throwing production with creating more detailed, singular work. Throwing a board full of rounded vases is a meditation and a mental groove I can ride all day long. I find it gives me the mental space to develop and realize larger and more developed pieces.

Pottery requires a humbleness — there are so many facets of ceramics that have taken years to master — and there are lifetimes more of learning. Always having a challenge that seems attainable is one thing I enjoy from pottery making. It is a field which demands hours and full attention; the hurdles overcome and subsequent results in my artistic journey are hugely gratifying. 

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Pots in production. Every one of these that was a success has a pot that failed behind it.

In the last month, I learned to throw large pots — that was hugely difficult and tearful (this was for a commission with a tight deadline which I self assuredly accepted) and also self validating.  Each pottery technique that is mastered will open the door to new ideas and projects. 

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I love the interplay between the grouping of large pieces. These found a permanent home at the Hoxton Hotel in Chicago- they echo the stillness found on the lake front. Lake Michigan is a place to find a bit of peace from the city noise.

On the horizon for next year, I plan to experiment more with throwing large series; I enjoyed the play and interaction with scale, form and color in the pieces in my last collection. I also plan on bringing light into my work — I am interested in the possible narratives and hidden worlds that could be created using light — so hardwiring bulbs will be a skill I hope to attain soon as well. 

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Right now I am a potter- but I will always consider myself an artist first and hope to dip into my box of oils sometime in the future. 

You can see more of my work at TwinettePoterie.com or @TwinettePoterie on Instagram.


Emilie Bouvet-Boisclair is one of 44 artists included in the 4th annual The Cup, The Mug exhibition on the second floor at Main Street Arts, a national juried exhibition of drinking vessels. Work from the exhibition can be previewed and purchased through the gallery’s online shop. The Cup, The Mug runs through December 14, 2019.