The Steel Yard’s Residency Program is designed to assist emerging to mid-level artists in growing and strengthening their art practice in a supportive, cooperative environment through access to the Steel Yard’s studios and facilities. Participating artists have the opportunity to work together, to take part in community events and sales and to be creative leaders in a vibrant community shop. Most of all, residents get an all access pass to our studios in pursuit of their own work.
To learn more about our Residency Program including cost, how & when to apply, as well as information about the studio, go here!
Did you know we also offer Micro-Residencies in Ceramics, Light Metals (Jewelry and metal forming), and Metals (Foundry, Blacksmithing, and Welding). Micro-Residencies are designed for projects between 1-3 months, check it out here!
Currently, we have a phenomenal 2017 cohort that we’d like to introduce! Read on to hear what they’re all about!
I am passionate about creating functional wheel thrown pottery that brings art into everyday experiences. I find inspiration when I see other unique and functional pieces and I then challenge myself to try and make the form.
I enjoy throwing pots on the wheel which is a very tactile and engaging experience. The process moves me out of my head and into my body, requiring me to be mindful. I mainly use electric kilns to fire my work and I’ve just begun to be involved with studio wood firings. I experiment by combining a variety of stoneware clay bodies with both studio and commercial glazes. The joy I experience when I unload a kiln of glazes work and see the new creations I have made is one of the highlights of the process. My goal is to learn more hand building techniques and venture into making plates and platters. I would also like to learn new surface decoration techniques to improve on my clay creations.
My work is rooted in functional wheel thrown pottery and inspired by traditional Japanese ceramics and textiles.
One of my greatest influences is Bill Van Gilder. He taught me the power of subtle forms and how to keep my process innovative. I watched Bill turn the spring from a ballpoint pen into a clay tool once and use car mats for texturing handles and plates. His resourcefulness is amazing always finding inspiration in unique places, from bake shops to junk stores. Bill showed me how to make better handles and spouts by comparing them to the soft natural curve of tree branches. He also showed me the beauty of slips and wood ash on pottery surfaces
I aspire to stretch the conventional boundaries of the functional pot in order to create my own forms that have a dynamic composition and flow of energy. I sketch a lot of ideas on paper. Then I start with wheel thrown basic forms like bowls and mugs and then begin to alter them by darting and rasping the soft leather hard forms. The surface treatment on the last pots I made was textured with hand carved stamps inspired by Japanese textiles. I love the ashy surface that a wood kiln leaves on pots but am not limited to that technique as it is very labor intensive. I have continues to sketch and have many books filled with ideas. I am quite excited to make these two-dimensional ideas in my books come to life.
My interests as an artist have focused on the development of abstract metal sculptures. I do this because I believe that abstract expression is the purest means to explore the essence of being human. My work creates a space in which a person can focus and reflect on the basic raw elements of their inner consciousness. My recent work in graduate school has involved the creation of installations of large metal structures that are derived from abstract line drawings made of graphite and paper. The drawing serves as a blueprint for the generation of the metal structures that are generated by forging and welding metal pieces together. These structures become two-dimensional steel line drawings in space that consist of shapes that resemble puddles of liquids, cracks in pavements and lateral growths in nature.
These shapes coalesce together into a larger form that has buoyancy and is free floating much like clouds, yet the structures are tethered by legs which form shapes that seem to disappear into the ground holding the sculptures in place. Each structure is its own unique flat sculpture but becomes something more when put together in an installation. When combining the multiple structures into an installation a new object is created that develops new forms and shapes that are not apparent in any one individual structure. This unique image is created by the layering of the structures at defined distances from each other to create a spatial relationship. This also allows for an interplay between the two-dimensional flat surfaces and the three-dimensional globular form. When the viewer sees the work at a specific distance, the installation appears as a flat static image, then depending on how the viewer moves in relation to the structure, the image drastically changes. The spatial aspects of the installation make the viewer a vital component to the success of the work since the interplay between the two-dimensional and three-dimensional aspects of the installation are not fully activated without the viewer moving. The hyper-dimensionality of the structure places the viewer as the vital focus of the experience.
I’m back here again, and ready to continue on with whatever the next phase of my artistic journey brings.
I intend to make stuff. Lots of stuff, and all sorts of it! Drag it all, or most of it, to the Agora, and see how the world reacts. Then go make more, and different stuff.
Mundane, boring, frightening, thoughtful, provocative. Things that make you scratch your head! And perhaps, on a good day, even wonderful things!
Perhaps things which have never before been seen under the sun. That is my intention, and the reason I traveled such a very, very long way; to get to this moment, and moments very soon to come. It’s gonna be good! Just wait, you’ll see!
Ceramics is like ice cream: delicious comes in many flavors and makes our lives so much sweeter. The only real difference is that we keep ice cream cold and we heat the heck out of clay.
I love making pots, tiles, and sculpture because they turn thoughts and inclinations into objects for further contemplation. Once thoughts are sitting on the table, they become opportunities for discussion, and ultimately, transformation.
I hope to contribute in any way I can to the Steel Yard’s mission and further development. Working in clay with others is a one-on-one proposition: my favorite thing to do. It requires good listening, attention to detail, collaboration, and follow-through. It is a tutorial in nature. My most enjoyable experiences have been in collective studios where we can inspire each other, develop our skills together, and create interesting and safe environments for making great work.
My observations of my everyday experience lead me to develop stories and made up histories to my surroundings. forms are fabricated out of these anecdotal thoughts and as new questions arise- in reply, the form changes and marks are made. The building of these objects happens in a counter responsive way, which allows me to respond to a variety of run off thoughts about organism and evolution, as well as thoughts on function, erosion, growth, dependency, decay, and anthropomorphism as it relates to material, utility, tactility, and volume.
Inspiration from my everyday observations and interactions with the people around me has become vital in informing my ideation process. I take note of small details from both our constructed world and the natural world around me. I conduct research into the creation or evolution, and the purpose of things. Simultaneously I am relating these findings to a variety of materials in my studio. I have always been drawn to process and tactility and find pleasure in dexterous activities. I have especially been attracted to making works which utilize clay, fibers, and post-fire glazes. As a result, my work often employs a variety of the subjects I have researched, through a filter of material and process.
I am a thrower. I’m a person who digs up material from the earth and speaks through it.
I look at my whole process of creating ceramics as a metaphor of a phoenix. I create these things from my being and fire them. In the flame the original is killed and the phoenix is reborn. This process is a rebirth for myself. I create my voice through my art and then fire my voice into a new one.
My work reflects society and how I see it. Society angers me; the higher powers of corruption destroy its future through its waste and greed. My work reflects how humanity pushes towards something it can’t control. I try to imagine how the earth would feel. So in response I create art that forms what the earth would say if it had a chance to speak.
As a ceramic artist, I want to encompass little moments in each piece of work I create; these might be experienced through the color of the object, the feel of the surface, or the imagery that is depicted. I’m intrigued by the necessity to create and use an object made essentially of dirt and fire, transformed through human touch. Through the handling of utilitarian ceramic work, there is a communication between the artist and the user. I envision an imaginary dialogue happening as others use the pieces that I have produced.
I see my body of work as having engaging design and presence. The inspiration I feel from the textures and colors on my pots is reminiscent of the ocean; it isn’t necessarily about the ocean, but as I move the slip and glaze materials I am reminded of being at the edge of the water. I am intrigued and inspired by the possibility of bringing vast natural world associations like this to everyday functional pots.
Most of my work is hand-built, with a focus on animals and the symbiotic relationship between human and object that emerges with anthropomorphism. In the past, I have sculpted pigs, mice, cats, rabbits, various birds and a coyote, but I keep coming back to bunnies. These last two years has been pinch-pot baby bunnies sculpted in a variety of clay bodies in a search for the right combination of workability and my intended function, table centerpieces/indoor decor. It has been a challenge working with mid-range porcelain and I have spent months pushing limits to better understand what is possible with the material, keeping in mind the delicacy of greenware and the high shrinkage rate.
In sculpture, I have explored both the solitary figure and installations depicting mother/daughter relationships, relationships between siblings, and other “connections” between two or more figures. It is my intention to evoke an anthropomorphic response from the viewer and to make them second guess what they initially see and feel. The viewer is subtly reminded that things are not always what they seem. The social engagement and the figures force with the viewer is just as important as their physical presence. The inspiration for these pieces comes largely from my interest in and study of symbolic interactionism and the pretense that the physical world is less “real” than the effects of social behavior and the interconnecting web of subjective human experience.