2019-2020 CERAMIC fellow

SY: HI! Could you tell us a little bit about yourself? What department are you working in?

My name is Danika Notar-Trinh. I graduated from Moore College of Art and Design with a BFA and I am a Fellow in the Ceramic Department.

SY: What pronouns do you use?

I identify with the pronouns she and her.

SY: Where are you from?

I grew up in the Philadelphia suburbs.

SY: We get this question a lot… how would YOU define Industrial Arts?

I define Industrial Arts as the creating of thoughtfully designed, functional objects. These pieces should breathe life and beauty into the mundane tasks as well as be a joy to use. Good Industrial Art makes us consider the everyday objects all around us and their function in our lives.

SY: What have you been working on?

I am focusing on wide-rimmed bowls as they are simple forms with a long, clean line on top that I can play with. The thick rims of these bowls have lots of energy. They have a flowing, linear curve that comes full circle and makes a solid 3D foundation that I push into square and oval shapes. I then carve into the bowls to define the surface and help the eye move around the vessel. I am now taking the carving one step further and cutting large circles in patterns through the wall of the bowls. It has transformed the bowl from a walled vessel that holds items and volume to an open 3D structure that air and light flow through.

SY: Who are your greatest inspirations? What work influences your work?

My greatest inspirations are Bill van Gilder, Mark Hewitt, Hamada, Peter Voulkos, Hideaki Miyamura, and Ken Matsuzaki. I am influenced by natural landscapes, flowers, man-made rusty industrial equipment, and Japanese crafts. I find these two opposing environments equally interesting for their own unique qualities. It is a tension between man and nature and the struggle to keep a balance of both in our own lives and the environment today.

SY: Do you show your work? Where can people see it/ buy it/ experience it?

I sell my work at occasional shows at The Steel Yard and The Attleboro Museum of Art.

SY: Can you tell us a little bit about your artistic practice?

I start most of my work on the pottery wheel and then I dart, paddle, and rasp the vessel until I am happy with the form. Form is the foundation of my thinking and the surface is secondary to enhance the movement of the eye around the work. I like to carve patterns and use stamps to define the space on the surface of the pot. I then glaze the pot to bring depth to the surface and highlight carvings and texture.

SY: How did you find The Steel Yard? What were you doing before you joined the Residency Program?

A friend recommended that I apply to The Steel Yard Residency Program and gave me a tour of the studios. I fell in love with the shop immediately. The light came in through the large glass windows flooding the studio with light showcasing its tall ceilings, rusty steel beams, old industrial equipment, and exposed brick walls. Before the Yard, I was working from my studio at home.

SY: Have you ever worked in a shared studio before? What do you think?

I have worked in a group studio before. They require discipline to stay focused on your own work, courtesy to respect other artist’s boundaries, and experience to know what jobs are important to do in order to keep the studio running smoothly. I found the experience rewarding as we taught each other skills, shared ideas, and encouraged one another in a supportive environment of talented people from all different media and backgrounds.

SY: Have you ever taken a Steel Yard course? Can you tell us about your experience?

I took a slip casting class at the Yard and I loved it. I have a new respect for the art of mold making. My instructor was great!

SY: Have you ever Instructed/ or been a TA for a Steel Yard course? Can you tell us about your experience?

Yes, I have taught at The Steel Yard for a few semesters. I love the students. They are curious and open to learning new ideas and techniques. It is very satisfying to see the students grow and get excited about what they can create in clay.

SY: Have you ever attended a Steel Yard event? Can you tell us about your experience?

Yes, I have been to an event at The Steel Yard. My family and I had a lot of fun. It was well organized and entertaining. It is a diverse crowd that comes together to support the arts in their community.

SY: We talk a lot about ‘Yardies’ here- curious, what does YARDIE mean you to?

Do you like hard labor? Do you like getting dirty? Do you have the patience of a saint? Do you love art and hanging out with creative people? Do you believe that funky, unconventional, imaginative artists hold the key to solving problems of the future? Then you are a Yardie. 🙂

SY: When you’re not in the studio working- what do you do in your free time?

When I am not in the studio I am spending time with my family. We like to travel to local
galleries, take nature walks, bike, and try new foods.

SY: What are you MOST excited for this upcoming year?

I am most excited to set up my own studio at home.

SY: What do you think will be your greatest CHALLENGE?

My biggest challenges will be finding a place to set up my own kilns and a place to sell
my work.


SY: Favorite food?


SY: Favorite movie?

Knives Out

SY: Favorite book?

All Things Great and Small

SY: Favorite artist/maker?

Pablo Piccaso

SY: What skill would you like to master?


SY: Favorite tool in the shop?

Atmospheric Kiln

SY: Annnnnnnd finally, is there anything else you’d like the Yardie community to know about you?

I like lifting weights in the gym.

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