Based in the San Francisco Bay Area, mid-career artist Christa Assad is best known for her ReObjectification series—teapot designs based on objects and buildings from American industry. Assad explains the inspiration for her pieces:
“Growing up in Pittsburgh, I was strongly influenced by the Steel City’s dying industry and the grit of these oft-abandoned sites. Tagged with graffiti and other remnants of trespassers and squatters, the physical remains of these sites serve as archaeological artifacts in the study of human behavior and societal evolution.”
A teacher, traveler, and full-time ceramicist with an M.F.A. from Indiana University (1999), and B.A. from Penn State (1992), Assad has work in the permanent collections of the Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco, Ceramic Research Center at Arizona State University Museum, and Penn State Fulbright Scholar Collection. She was named Ceramic Artist of the Year in 2012 by Ceramics Monthly. Her work is represented by Abmeyer + Wood Fine Art, Ferrin Contemporary, and Harvey Meadows Gallery.
“Using the wheel as a springboard for idea and process, my journey begins. What I plan to demonstrate today may change 100% by summertime. A year filled with physical health challenges has affected how I move through the studio, how many hours I can sustain a position, even how I look at a concrete floor. I am humbled by my body’s limits, yet the mind allows no respite from work. How we reconcile these trials of the spirit, particularly through art-making, has become a consuming passion. I hope to unify this topic of personal struggle with themes found in my earlier political works focused on warfare, as we talk candidly while the hands move.”
“Making art provides a few very important things for me: discipline, including regular physical and mental exercise; a measure of creativity and productivity; a role in history as artisan. The choice to pursue an art career came as a surprise to me, but now seems the ideal solution to the puzzle of life. It satisfies the athlete, the academic, and the connoisseur in me. Along with the rewards, there are many lessons to be learned in patience, cooperation, and loss.
Bridging the gap between historic utilitarian vessels and the pedestal art of our present culture is what I find most challenging. I build upon classic pottery forms, adding personal interpretations of objects from my urban surroundings. Inspiration can be hiding anywhere – in the fender of a classic car, a corrugated metal rooftop, or a piece of threaded plumbing pipe. Today’s discarded roadside junk just may be tomorrow’s archaeological treasure.
Working within the timeline of ceramic history, my position comes humbly after centuries of past civilizations whose technological developments and discoveries are still viable today. My education and formal training honor these cultures and their ceramic traditions, and place me in the context of contemporary American art ~ a culture wherein handmade objects seem archaic, but somehow manage to endure.”
Linda Christianson is an independent studio potter who lives and works in rural Minnesota. She studied at Hamline University and the Banff Centre School of Fine Arts. She received fellowships from the National Endowment for the Arts and the McKnight Foundation. An itinerant educator, Christianson has taught at colleges and universities, including Carleton College and the Hartford Art School. She has conducted workshops and been an invited conference presenter and lecturer at schools and museums around the world. Her recent writing appeared in Studio Potter, The Log Book, and Ceramics Monthly. One of her goals is to make a better cup each day.
“Using a treadle wheel in combination with hand building, I will be making utilitarian pottery. Parts will be fabricated on the wheel to construct cooking oil containers, buckets, baking dishes, cups, plates, and other pots for daily use. Idea generation and development will be addressed through accompanying visual images and discussion.”
“Having made pots now for about 35 years, I am surprised that it is still both a hopeful and troublesome effort to make a decent pot. The qualities that I search for in my work are fairly straightforward. I am interested in a pot that does its duty well yet can stand on its own as a visual object. These pots are not sculpture; they seem to act more like engaging tools than anything else. Wood firing offers the exterior of the work a surface I find quietly compelling. While the firing process is anecdotal to the pot’s life, I do enjoy making a woodpile and tending a fire.”
Originally from Puerto Rico, Cristina Córdova received a B.A. from the University of Puerto Rico in Mayaguez and an M.F.A. in ceramics from the New York State College of Ceramics at Alfred University. Upon graduation in 2002 she was selected for a three-year residency at Penland School of Crafts, where she later served as a trustee (2006-10). Córdova received an American Crafts Council Emerging Artist Grant, a North Carolina Arts Council Fellowship, and a Virginia Groot Foundation Recognition Grant, along with several International Association of Art Critics Awards. She has taught at Penland School of Crafts, Haystack Mountain School, Santa Fe Clay, Mudfire, Odyssey Center, and Anderson Ranch. Her work is part of the permanent collections of the Renwick Gallery of the Smithsonian American Art Museum, Fuller Craft Museum, Museum of Contemporary Art of Puerto Rico, Museum of Art of Puerto Rico, Mint Museum of Craft and Design, and the Joseph-Schein Museum. She lives and works in Penland, N.C.
“I will be demonstrating how to construct a large-scale torso and activate the surface using slips and underglaze transfers.”
“Through my work I seek to generate figurative compositions that explore the boundary between the material driven, sensorial experience of an object and the psychological resonance of our involuntary dialogues with the self-referential.
I am driven by the primal act of imbuing an inanimate representation with a sense of presence, transforming it into the inspired repository of our deepest longings and aspirations. My practice seeks to transpose and distill material sourced in the narratives of our culture, breaking it down and layering in search for new formal and conceptual possibilities to uphold insight and self-awareness. My goal is to have these compositions perform both as reflections of our shared humanity as well as question sociocultural notions of gender, race, beauty and power.”
Shoko Teruyama grew up in Mishima, Japan. She earned a B.A. in education and taught elementary school two years before coming to the United States to study art at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln in 1997. Teruyama received an M.F.A. in ceramics in 2005 from Wichita State University. She finished a three-year residency at the Penland School of Crafts in 2008 and is now a studio artist in Marshall, N.C.
“During my demonstrations, I will first start a few forms with bisque molds. I will briefly show how the molds are made, cover them with slabs, and discuss different foot solutions. Next I will build up from these simple beginnings with coil and pinch. The forms will soon take on volume and be adorned with handles. Lastly, I will talk about my decorative sgraffito techniques and glaze solutions.
For the discussion session, I will highlight how to develop personal narrative in your work. I will show my resource materials to facilitate a conversation. As a group we will practice drawing in our sketchbooks and search for the beginning to narrative.”
“Growing up in Japan, I remember tradition being part of daily life. Temples and shrines were everywhere, even inside our home. These memories inspire my current work. Many of my forms allude to function and would serve food well, but are more comfortable being placed in sacred spaces of the home like the center of a formal dining room table, a hope chest, or a bedside stand.
I build using bisque molds, slab construction, and coil pinch. I decorate with a sgraffito technique to achieve ornamentation and visual movement representing water, wind, and clouds. I also create characters based on human relations and things I have experienced. Sometimes you might feel like the weight of a turtle standing on your head and sometimes you feel like an owl standing on top of the world. Some of my characters have a dark nature. I think that is life. Sometimes dark things happen. Overall, I want my work to have a sense of hope and a sense of humor because life goes on.”