Featured Presenters for 2020
Jen Allen is a studio potter and educator who lives and works in Morgantown, WV with her artist husband, Shoji Satake and their two young children. Jen holds a Masters of Fine Arts degree from Indiana University and a BFA from the University of Alaska, Anchorage. Among her achievements, Jennifer was awarded the 2006-2007 Taunt Fellowship and Residency at the Archie Bray Foundation and was recognized as an emerging artist at the 2008 NCECA Conference. Jen is also an active member of the online ceramic collective, Objective Clay.
As a lover of textiles and sewing, she uses details such as folds, seams, darts, pleats, tufts and ruffles to relate to the craft of a seamstress. It is important that these methods of construction are evident in each finished piece. Decorative imagery is gathered from specific textile sources created during times of optimism and progress: post WWII textiles, Arts and Crafts Era designs and Edo period kimono fabrics. She renders floral motifs into lyrical compositions in order to foster a sense of merriment. Like a scroll for a player piano, it is important that her imagery moves fluidly across the surface of the form revealing itself through use. Determined to keep “handmade” an essential part of the contemporary home, her ongoing focus is to reinforce personal sentiments of beauty, joy, nourishment and celebration through porcelain tableware. Whether it’s a festive meal shared by many or a cup of hot cocoa indulged by one, she remains motivated by moments when pottery is in use. By making thoughtful, useful handcrafted pottery for the domestic landscape, she is inspired to enhance the home, engage the hand and enliven the spirit.
Naomi Clement is a Canadian artist and educator who explores ideas of home and belonging through the powerful lens of functional ceramics. She received her MFA from Louisiana State University in 2017. Naomi has participated in residencies, given lectures and workshops, and exhibited her work across Canada and the United States. Naomi was named a 2017 Emerging Artist by Ceramics Monthly magazine, and her work was featured on the cover of the September 2018 issue of the magazine.
In her work Naomi uses text from old family correspondence, which is laser cut into newsprint,and subsequently used in her decorative process. By using this technology,she is able to work with marks that are made by someone else’s hand, collaborating with the past to create objects for the future, and make the ephemeral endure.
The resulting pots ask to be noticed and examined; they convey a sense of a life lived, and of a life still to be lived; they are about making connections and wanting to make connections. A snapshot of the journey, each pot is a tether that connects maker and user—a memory bound in mud-made-stone for years to come.
Steve Loucks received his MFA in 1985 from the New York College of Ceramics at Alfred University, Alfred, NY and his BFA in 1983 from the University of Illinois at Champaign/Urbana. He is a studio potter and a retired Professor of Art from Jacksonville State University, Jacksonville, Alabama. He has been awarded an Alabama State Council on the Arts Fellowship in Crafts Grant in 2000 and 2008 and a Southern Arts Federation/National Endowment for the Arts Fellowship in Crafts in 1995. With the help of his wife, Lynnette Hesser, he has hosted the Alabama Clay Conference four times, most recently: February 5-7, 2016. As a member of the National Council on the Education for the Ceramic Arts (NCECA), he has been a Topical Group Discussion Leader several times including "Switching to Cone 6", a “Glaze Doctor”, a panel leader and lead panelist at the 2013 Houston, TX NCECA for “Cone 6 Without Compromise” and presenter of "An Easy Way to Adjust Glazes" at the Portland NCECA 2017. He also enjoys conducting workshops. Past workshops include the Odyssey Center of the Arts, Penland School of Crafts, John C. Campbell Folk School, Arrowmont School of Arts and Crafts, Mendocino Art Center, The Kiln Studio and Workhouse Art Center.
His ceramic work plays upon traditional pottery forms that transcend function while embracing it. Divided between utilitarian pottery and glorified, functional vessels, both intentions share similar sensibilities and handling of the clay. Information and ideas from one intention feeds the other. His utilitarian pottery is elegantly or whimsically designed to perform with ease and delight to make the everyday occasion a special, pleasurable experience. The glorified vessels are based upon functional vessels but abandon utilitarian concerns for a more sculptural approach to form, surface embellishment, and presentation.
His work is primarily wheel-thrown, altered, embellished, and assembled from several sections. His utilitarian work is made from a white stoneware clay. The glorified vessels are made using various cone 6-10 white stoneware clay bodies. All his work is fired to cone 6 in either an electric oxidation atmosphere, a gas reduction atmosphere, or in an oxidation soda firing. He enjoys layering many glazes to achieve various effects and apply them using several methods depending on the glaze and glaze effect. He has developed all of his own glazes. Glazes that come in contact with foods are food safe. The functional work is microwave and dishwasher safe.
Shadow May is a self-taught, award winning ceramic artist. He was born and raised in Homer, Alaska, but now calls Chattanooga, Tennessee, home. The fundamentals he gained from apprenticeships and production work early in his career equipped him with a fearless method of creating work—evolving rapidly. May’s ceramic forms marry a studio artist’s discipline with an experimental performer’s mentality. His commitment and knowledge of the medium only encourages him to take greater risks. He welcomes mistakes and struggles and he seems to believe it brings a greater sense of resolve and presence to each form. May has received a Tanne Foundation Award, Tennessee Arts Commission Artist Fellowship, and Make Work, ArtsMove and CERF grants. May teaches workshops nationally and has been published in Ceramics Monthly and Clay Times. He has exhibited his work across the country in over a hundred juried fine arts shows, museums, and galleries.
The fundamentals he gained from apprenticeships and production work early in his career have equipped him with a fearless method of creating—evolving rapidly. He spent many years working as a functional potter, but eventually found himself feeling confined by the restrictions of function. He wanted to create work that would challenge notions of what clay should be and do and look. Because of that desire, he feels that his functional and nonfunctional forms are intuitive and uninhibited and emphasize the value of taking risks.
Many of his pieces are built from monolithic slabs of clay and thrown forms to create large, dynamic pieces. Instead of hiding the seams, he emphasize them by using unorthodox tools to seal the joints and create texture. The spontaneity of the building process is obvious when someone looks at the final product. The torn forms, unconcealed joints, and bent slabs reinforce an urgency he hopes is evident in his work.