Bohls makes hand-built pottery that she shows and sells both locally and nationally. She received her B.F.A. from Rhode Island School of Design in 1989, and her M.F.A. from Louisiana State University in 1995. She has been teaching ceramics at the college level for 20 years. She is currently associate professor of art at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln. She previously taught at the University of Minnesota from 1998 to 2011, and has taught as visiting faculty at Ohio University, Penn State University, and NSCAD University in Halifax. She has given lectures at universities across the U.S. and has taught hands-on workshops at art centers such as Greenwich House Pottery in New York; Anderson Ranch Arts Center in Aspen, Colorado; and Penland School of Crafts in North Carolina. Bohls’ work has been shown in over 100 group and solo exhibitions since 1995 and is included in the permanent collections of the Minnesota Museum of American Art, the American Museum of Ceramic Art (AMOCA), and in the Sonny and Gloria Kamm Teapot Foundation Collection. She has written articles for the Journal of the National Council for Education on Ceramic Arts and Pottery Making Illustrated, and her ceramic work has been featured in periodicals such as Ceramics Monthly and Studio Potter Magazine.
In this series of demonstrations, I will discuss and demonstrate the methodology I employ to create the vessels and trays that comprise the work in the “Modernist” series. This work is largely based on Modern Era ceramics and silver tea and coffee sets made in Europe and America. I will share my drawings and demonstrate the coil and pinch technique that I used to build these forms, including the development of handles, lids, and spouts. I will also share my process for creating the large trays on which the vessels sit.
“My work is grounded in an abiding interest in historical vessel forms, and in the social context of these objects. My methodology for creating new work often begins with a study of a particular set of historical vessels. I strive to identify a set of physical, formal attributes of these objects that visually communicate something about the culture that produced them or the era during which they were created. I do this through a close visual examination of the objects and by making drawings of the objects. In these drawings I attempt to distill the objects down to what I consider to be their critical visual and formal characteristics. These drawings become the basis for the creation of a series of ceramic forms of my own.”
This body of work began in 2013. This work consists of what I consider to be sculptural representations of utilitarian forms arranged on, and framed by, large stoneware trays. The forms are largely based on European, Modernist era silver tea, coffee, and chocolate sets. My interest is in the abstraction and repetition of forms and visual motifs, and in the “still life” like arrangement of these forms. However, I am also interested in the “loaded” nature of these forms. They carry references to the classism of the societies in which these forms were developed to signify status and worldliness, as the drinking of tea, coffee, and chocolate developed from trade with and colonization of Asia and the new world. The materials from which they were made, porcelain and silver, were also intended to convey the status of their owners. Historically these forms were elaborately ornamented and adorned with form language and imagery that reinforced these ideas, although most of these signifiers have been deliberately erased in their modern manifestations, as the rituals of their use have become less practiced. My work, like its modern inspirations, is quite formalist and the actual function of this ware is vestigial. Unlike my historical inspirations, in my “modernist” pieces I place a deliberate emphasis on process and substance. The forms are pinched up from moist clay and the glazes are chosen and applied to emphasize their substance and character. The forms are left unrefined and retain the repetitive marks of the pinching process. The glazes are thick and have rich visual texture. The dark, coarse stoneware trays are left unglazed. These sets are oversized, to emphasize their weight and physical presence.
Cavener is currently a full-time professional studio artist working in Montana. She received her B.A. in sculpture from Haverford College and her M.F.A. from Ohio State University. She was awarded the Artist Trust Fellowship in 2009; the Jean Griffith Foundation Fellowship in 2006; the Virginia A. Groot Foundation Grant and an Individual Artist Fellowship from the Ohio Arts Council in 2005; and the American Craft Council’s Emerging Artist Fellowship in 2004. She has also been an artist-in-residence at the Clay Studio in Philadelphia and the Archie Bray Foundation in Helena, Montana. She has exhibited nationally (at such institutions as the Smithsonian Museum) and internationally, and has taught numerous workshops across the country. She is currently represented by Jason Jacques Gallery in New York and has just recently embarked on creating a group professional studio space under the name Studio 740 in Helena.
I will demonstrate my sculptural process, beginning with a discussion of how to make studies and drawings of ones ideas and engineering and building armatures from threaded pipe sections. I will then show how to rough in the form and adjust the armature, and proceed to solid building a piece, including demonstrating methods to develop gestural expression and sculpting realistic muscles and bones. I will talk about aspects of hollowing the form and post firing surface techniques.
“Primitive animal instincts lurk in our own depths, waiting for the chance to slide past a conscious moment. The sculptures I create focus on human psychology, stripped of context and rationalization, and articulated through animal and human forms. On the surface, these figures are simply feral and domestic individuals suspended in a moment of tension. Beneath the surface, they embody the consequences of human fear, apathy, aggression, and misunderstanding.
Both human and animal interactions show patterns of intricate, subliminal gestures that betray intent and motivation. The things we leave unsaid are far more important than the words spoken out loud to one another. I have learned to read meaning in the subtler signs; a look, the way one holds one’s hands, the incline of the head, and the slightest unconscious gesture. I rely on animal body language in my work as a metaphor for these underlying patterns, transforming the animal subjects into human psychological portraits.
I want to pry at those uncomfortable, awkward edges between animal and human. Entangled in their own internal and external struggles, the figures express frustration for the human tendency toward cruelty and lack of understanding. Something conscious and knowing is captured in their gestures and expressions: An invitation and a rebuke.”
Golden received her B.F.A. from the University of Utah and her M.F.A. from Indiana University. She is a curator and full-time studio artist exhibiting nationally and teaching workshops throughout the U.S. She has curated exhibitions for the Holter Museum of Contemporary Art and the National Council on Education for the Ceramic Arts. She has participated in numerous residencies, visiting artist programs, and collaborative artist projects, including the LH Project, Penland School of Arts and Crafts, Red Lodge Clay Studio, and Watershed Center for the Ceramic Arts. She has been featured in several documentaries, including “Duet” and “Clay and Light” by videographer Doug Swift. Her work has been published in several art books and magazines including Ceramics Monthly, and she was awarded Best of Show in the 2014 Zanesville Prize for Contemporary Ceramics Competition. Golden is currently exhibiting at Manheim Gallery and Eutectic Gallery.
In this demonstration, I will use slab construction to sculpt an adult human bust. I will demonstrate my methods for creating a realistic rendering of an entire torso, including the head, arms, and hands. I will address anatomy, gesture, and expression. Along with demonstrating techniques to create a realistic figure, I will discuss my methods for communicating narratives and psychological content. The focus will be on incorporating symbolic and metaphorical ideas into the human form to create a unique and resonate sculpture.
“Representing the psychological within the human form has been a constant focus of my work. It has consistently been important for me to explore the vulnerable moments of the human experience in an attempt to gain a deeper understanding of that which is greater than the self. I downplay overt physiological expressions while maintaining an emotional awareness. I often present a sense of instability within an anachronistic unearthed fragmentation of a once vital figurative presentation. My alarm over the increasingly volatile world has grown alongside my family. Motherhood has emphasized my own vulnerabilities and refocused my concerns. Consequently, I feel an immense urgency to hold onto the present, connect with the past, and secure the future.”
Meaden grew up in the western suburbs of Chicago. She received a B.A. from Fort Lewis College in 1994, and an M.F.A. in ceramics from Ohio University in 2005. She has been a resident artist at the Archie Bray Foundation in Helena, Montana, and at the Anderson Ranch Arts Center in Snowmass Village, Colorado. Her work is represented my several galleries nation-wide. She has taught numerous workshops nationally and internationally, in addition to being featured as a demonstrator and lecturer at the National Council on Education in Ceramic Arts, and Utilitarian Clay V: Celebrate the Object. Meaden is currently a studio potter in Durango, Colorado.
I will demonstrate the making of my functional pots on and off the potter’s wheel, throwing and altering porcelain clay. After coming off the wheel, I will trim, assemble, and decorate the pots. I will begin with the basics—cups, and bowls, and then move on the more complex forms—pitchers, teapots, ewers, and spoons.
“My work is soda-fired porcelain. It begins with the consideration of function, and the goal is for the form and surface of the pots to be integrated. Making the work starts with a three-dimensional division of space, continues with drawing on the surface, and finishes with the addition of color.
New ideas are gradually incorporated into previous bodies of work through making. Source information for my pots can be motivated by something as simple as looking at the patterns in the stacked bricks of my kiln to something as complex as the forms in 18th century European manufactured silver.
I experience the evolution of my work through creative repetition in the studio. I am interested in having my work display both practical and extravagant attributes. I am drawn to work that is rich in ornamentation, with lavish use of materials—both scarce in a culture of mass production.
Functional pottery, in its connection to sustenance, closely relates to the human body, revealing what it means to be human. Handmade pots are potent in their power to reveal the extraordinary, within the ordinary. I am driven by the insatiable pursuit of the “good pot”. Successful in terms of tactile, visual, and functional attributes; lastingly significant when packed with the passion of the maker—reflecting humanity, and contributing to the craft.”
Donna Polseno, Director
Donna Polseno received a BFA from the Kansas City Art Institute and her MAT from the Rhode Island School of Design. She moved to the mountains of Virginia after graduation and has been a studio artist since 1974. She started her career making pottery which she continues to do, but diverged to a parallel career of making figurative sculpture in the 80’s. She has received two National Endowment of the Arts Grants and a Virginia Museum Fellowship. Essays about her work have been published in many magazines including Art & Perception and Ceramics Monthly. She is in several books about pottery and sculpture including Sculptural Ceramics (cover photo) by Ian Gregory. She has taught many workshops and summer programs at schools including Penland School of Crafts, Arrowmont School of Crafts, The Bascom, Appalachian Center for Crafts, Long Beach Foundation, and Anderson Ranch Art Center. She has been an invited participant at a symposium in Izmir, Turkey, has taught twice at the WVU exchange program in Jingdezhen, China, and teaches each summer at La Meridiana- International School for Ceramics, in Italy, as well as showing in the second annual “Concreta” exhibiton in Certaldo. She has been teaching ceramics at Hollins University since the inception of the program in 2004.
Dara Hartman, Assistant Director
Dara is a full-time studio artist based in Salt Lake City, UT. She received a B.F.A. from Virginia Tech and an M.F.A. from Montana State University. In 2005, she was an artist-in-residence at the Archie Bray Foundation in Helena, MT. After graduate school she moved to Washington and was an adjunct professor at Clark College in Vancouver, WA, and at Oregon College of Art and Craft in Portland, OR. While in Oregon she was commissioned by Marriott to create 70 figurative sculptures for their Courtyard by Marriott Portland City Center hotel. Most recently, Dara’s life has taken her to Salt Lake City, where she worked for three years as a product designer and as a design team leader, and traveled to China to work with factories on model design and production.
“Growing up in a family of makers, Dara was raised with paints, pastels, clay, yarn, thread, and fabric in her hands. The women in her life made things for the home. This desire to make utilitarian objects has stayed with Dara over the years but it wasn’t until a ceramics class in college that she realized that clay was her medium. In one of her first ceramics classes, her professor talked about the subtle nuances of a cup: how the rim of a cup rests on the users lip, how the cup is held, the shape of the handle, the volume of the cup, how it sits on the table, and how the intended liquid looks in the cup. Think about that for a minute, how complex something as simple as a cup can appear. These ideas on form and function have been a consistent thread in Dara’s work over the years. Dara’s designs are an exploration of form and surface with careful considerations of details and of how each piece can be used. These pieces are finished with luscious glazes over subtle textures that add a tactile experience to the work. Dara’s work connects with the user in a way that allows them to slow down and enjoy the moment whether that’s an afternoon tea or dinner with family.”