Dustin Yager is a ceramic artist whose work deals with popular perceptions of pottery, taste, class, and all that goes along with it. His work has been exhibited in Minneapolis and nationally. Yager earned a Master of Arts degree in Visual and Critical Studies from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago, and holds a BA from Carleton College. Yager was awarded a 2012 Jerome Ceramics Artist Project Grant from Northern Clay Center.
The central theme of my work as a potter, artist, educator, and writer is the production and use of ceramics and other pieces of everyday life. Through daily interactions with objects on our table, in the mall, and on the screen, we attach meaning and status to the “stuff” around us. Drawing upon personal experience, I create large and small interventions to disrupt and question the normal flow of propriety in domestic spaces.
My work is emotional. It is aggressive, demanding, bitter, and sardonic, but also joyful, resilient, thoughtful, and funny. My experiences of encountering gender, sexuality, class, urban/rural divisions, and art/craft distinctions influence my choice of form and surface manipulation. The seriousness of pottery studios, dining rooms, art galleries, and social taboos are frequent subjects of my dissatisfaction. Each intervention and audience requires a different kind of engagement, and I actively range from tightly controlled to highly gestural, and from sly to offensive.
With traditional materials and methods, I create work that highlights the social status of pottery and industrial tableware - the comfort and intimacy we are taught to expect when we open our cupboards. By organizing events and installations, I am able to show dishes in variations of their natural environments. Through this alteration of the familiar, I hope my work becomes more alive to the participants and brings new consideration for the design, production, and meaning of objects in their own homes and memories.
Currently my studies and research have delivered some of the best art and ideas I have ever had the opportunity to realize. Over the course of my life I have been granted the continued gift of discovery. With great thanks I praise my origins, surroundings, friends and allies. Dear reader, please enjoy whatever might be before you, art, life, truffles and this great moment we are all within...
Jayson Lawfer is a potter and director of an online art gallery and art consulting business entitled The Nevica Project. After graduating from the University of Montana, Jayson completed an artist residency at Guldagergard (2002) in Denmark, The Archie Bray Foundation (2004), A.I.R. Vallauris in Vallauris, France (2006), and Lillstreet Art Center (2007). His work has been featured in prestige American exhibitions at the Lancaster Museum of Art (Pennsylvania), Missoula Art Museum (Montana), Cedar Rapids Museum of Art (Iowa), and New Hampshire Institute of Art. His pottery has been selected for the Totally Teabowl exhibition in England, the Sydney Meyer Fund International Ceramic Award in Australia and The Salzbrand 2006 competition in Germany. The American Society of Ceramics awarded Jayson one of the "2005 Emerging Artists of the Year". From 2002-2006, he was the Executive Director of The Clay Studio of Missoula (USA), Gallery Director of its exhibition space and Resident Director of its artist-in-residence program. He was a Resident Artist and Guest Curator at Lillstreet Art Center in Chicago, Illinois from 2006-2007 and their Executive Director of the nonprofit sector of Lillstreet from 2010 - 2011. Jayson’s talents of being an artist and holding positions of directorship have granted him the opportunity to present lectures and lead workshops in Mexico, Italy and in the USA.
Before moving to the Midwest, I lived in California where the scenery is dramatic with the ocean and mountains. When I moved to Illinois, the landscapes became quiet and to appreciate their beauty, one must look closely and be still. My work reflects this quietness and simplicity of form with small surprises integrated into the subtlety. I prefer to offer uncomplicated surfaces to allow for different firing techniques and glazes to affect the design and final decoration. I wish for my pieces to be assimilated into everyday use.....a special bowl for your morning cereal or a vase to hold a flower picked while strolling around the block.
"I am interested in all aspects and possibilities of ceramics; my practice embraces craft, design, sculpture, installation and the latest technology. I primarily work with clay but I incorporate other mediums as well, such as drawings, found objects, etc. These past few years I have been implementing old and new technologies, and pairing traditional skills with computer generated forming methods, such as CNC and 3D printing. Finding an equilibrium within this spectrum is vital to me; while the possibilities are expanded through technology, the joy of working by hand is what sustains my passion. I am originally from Japan. Currently I live and work in Evanston, IL. "
Patty Kochaver has been working in and teaching clay for nearly three decades and is astonished at this fact. Although she attempted more traditional lines of work, clay always drew her back. She is currently enjoying her exploration of saggar firing and it's endless possibilities. She finds experimenting with an enclosed environment, sawdust, metal salts, and fire as enormous fun and hasn't tried out nearly all the ideas she's had.
Like minimalist decor for alien space invaders, Sarah Hicks' abstract ceramic sculptures embody humor and elegance. Informed by a fascination and deep exposure to traditional and contemporary decorative arts her work aims to investigate a human desire to connect with form, both organic and structural, in turn informing a visual literacy. Manipulating common notions of design, her objects create simultaneously obvious and abstract relationships between chic knick-knacks, toys and character driven objects; synthesizing life, movement, utility and inherent sexuality. Borrowing ideas from nature as well as those that exist in the simple graphic quality of everyday objects her sculptures aim to encourage an aesthetic experience of curiosity and delight.
Constructed from clay her work primarily utilizes molds of mass produced domestic and found objects. The molded pieces are cut and reassembled into objects of familiar but indeterminate origin. Additionally, these mold made objects are enhanced with “slip drawings”. This method consists of pouring ceramic slip onto a plaster slab. Shapes are “drawn” rather than molded allowing for a more fluid and gestural response to form and content. Her forms are further articulated by treating the surface with a combination of color, line and texture.
Sangeet Gupta works as an engineer and ceramic artist in Chicago, IL. His pieces are primarily wood fired stoneware, with forms and surfaces that are complimented by the movement of the fire around them. Sangeet feels that working with his hands in clay, being surrounded by nature while firing wood kilns, and the wood firing process itself provide a perfect balance to city life and crunching numbers for the man.