Sunday, April 13, 2014

emerging artist guest post: Joel Cherrico

 I recently meet Joel at NCECA. He had contacted me in the past about the emerging artist posts and was already on the list for a profile on the blog. He then sent me the following guest post about his experience at NCECA this year. Grab a cup of coffee and have a nice read on a lovely Sunday morning.

"I am interested in exploring the role of handmade pottery in today’s world. Industrialized ceramics has eliminated the need for handmade wares, so the potter has redefined his/her place in society by creating an artistic visual language through production of handmade, utilitarian vessels.  In that case, why make utilitarian vessels?  I believe the ability to eat and drink from pottery creates a heightened sense of approachability to the artwork, allowing viewers to develop relationships through active participation. I limit my use of tools, constantly exploring ways to communicate the touch of my hand in each pot."

Generous Community Building: An Emerging Artist’s Experience at NCECA, 2014

“We should make work that elevates the ceramic field, and elevates all human beings.”
- Theaster Gates, Keynote Speaker for NCECA, 2014.
NCECA 2014 was mindblowing. Never have so many of my clay heroes been in one place at the same time. Even more amazing was the fact that all of them were there to answer questions face to face.
Since graduating with a B.A. in Art in 2010, I’ve had 2 main goals: support my livelihood as a full-time potter and join the contemporary ceramics scene. Pottery sales got me to NCECA this year, but becoming a voice in the clay world is a slow, steady process. Ben Carter calls this, “going pro.” I’m not there yet, but here are some highlights of how I approached NCECA to try and join this world.
Gave Away Free Pottery
I attached business card images to plates and shot glasses, guaranteeing these would stand out among the thousands of paper posters, postcards, and business cards. People instantly snatched them up. As clay artists, if we’re willing to invest so much time and money into paper ads, why not invest that into advertising with clay instead?
Clay Shot Cup Business Advertisement, Joel Cherrico Pottery
Stoneware Shot Cup Business Cards, Joel Cherrico Pottery
…especially when NCECA is filled with thousands of paper advertisements.
NCECA Advertisements, Photo by Joel Cherrico, 2014
Brought Mugs to Critique
I drove to NCECA with a box of 30 mugs. At first, I was sure I could sell them. In reality, my simple, Minnesota pottery mugs seemed like a dime a dozen. So I filled my backpack with mugs and pulled them out to critique with whoever was willing. This led to numerous solid critiques with some of my heroes in the clay world…Adam Field, Danny Meisinger (Spinning Earth Pottery), Keith Williams (former NCECA President). I ended up just giving away over 20 mugs with business cards.
With help from a good friend and artist Jim Mcallister, I spent $50 to make over 60 of these to give out at NCECA as my business cards:
Business Cards, Joel Cherrico Pottery, 2014
Sought out Clay Heroes and Asked Them Questions
Danny Meissinger of Spinning Earth Pottery setup the premier display as you walked into the expo hall. After sparking up conversation with him, I said, “Danny, I’ve been a full-time potter for 4 years and this year I want to make 7,000 pots.” He walked away from his gallery display, pulled out a folding chair and said, “Sit.”
20 minutes later I was still sitting, thumbing through a box of his coffee mugs while he held one of mine. Here are some of his insights:
“Make 7,000 pots this year, get that shit out of your system. Because you don’t want to be 58 years old with 2 cysts in your left hand and pain in your shoulder. But do it this year, I’m going to look you up next year to see if you did it.”
“You owe it to yourself to raise your prices and lower your production. If you make 7,000 pots my prediction is that you will raise your sales, but it won’t be sustainable.”
Below is a photo I shot during 2010 NCECA in Philadelphia. I was a senior in college. Danny remembered talking with me 4 years ago. This definitely helped us connect on a deeper level.
Danny Meisinger Spinning Earth Pottery NCECA 2010 Philadelphia Joel Cherrico Pottery 2014

Next I found Chris Gustin and shot him some questions. He answered with this simple, powerful quote:
“I love my gallery work and it still sells, but ceramic tiles really pay the bills. And I still do work on the tile side of the business too. I’ve found that if you have cash flow you can do anything.”
Accompanying this great quote was a shot of him smiling next to 3 of his vessels during the “Flow” exhibition in the Milwaukee Art Museum:
Chris Gustin, Milwaukee Art Museum, Joel Cherrico Pottery, 2014
North Carolina potter Mark Hewitt gave equally powerful one-liners. He said these during his panel, “Where Have All the Studio Potters Gone?” As a young potter trying to make a living and build a business, I though his advice was spot on:
“Teaching is a form of generosity.”
“Be realistic about your financial resources…do you have access to capital and land?”
“Go visit the potters whose work you like.”
“Be humble. Get an internship or an apprenticeship.”
“The first thing I tell a prospective apprentice is, ‘You don’t want to be a potter.’ It’s not easy, even in the best of conditions…some still want to defy the odds, and I’ve had 20 apprentices over the last 20 years. Six are making a living entirely from potting, six are making pots and have extra income from an extra job, or from a spouse, six are in various stages of transitioning…two are no longer potting.”
“My most successful apprentices are those that worked the hardest, and wanted to succeed the most.”
“If they have settled close to me, they have tended to do better (by stealing my business!)”
“We need mainstream advocacy for pottery…wouldn’t it be nice if ‘Ghost’ was remade…How about a sitcom set in a pottery studio? With a master potter and a stoner apprentice…”
“Why are there no potters in People Magazine?”
“Build on pre-existing support structures. Build community.”
“Go where there is money, go where there is clay.”
Those last few really got to me. Why don’t we see skilled potters throwing on national TV? I return to NCECA Keynote speaker, Theaster Gates, who may have taken the first steps toward making this a reality with his spot on the Colbert Nation.
Stepped up to the Mic
I snapped this before asking a question at the #virtualclay panel in front of 200+ spectators. Sorry for the blur, but my hands were shaking.
Virtual Clay Panel NCECA 2014 Joel Cherrico Pottery
Oh and that woman in front of me with the long black hair…that was Ayumi Horie, and my question was about her…awkward!
She’s one of my heroes because she’s an innovator to her core, while remaining true to the pots she wants to make. Chris Gustin shows 2 bodies of work: vessels for galleries, and tiles to pay the bills. But Ayumi Horie makes her pots, markets her pots ingeniously, and sells them all. Here was my question for the panel:
Question: ”I’ve been closely studying Ayumi since 2008, and I built my website after seeing her consistently sell so much pottery online for such high prices. Why do you think she’s had so much success? Is it her staying power? The prestigious places she’s studied? Her writing in Ceramics Monthly and American Craft Council?”
(Ayumi locked eyes with me right as I spit out the question.)
Answer: “Generosity. She volunteers and donates so much of her time to the ceramic community and the community gives back.”
More was said, but that’s what I took from the panel responses. Generosity was a reoccurring theme that I kept hearing people bring up. After the panel, Ayumi came to me and introduced herself. I apologized for being awkward, but she said, “No worries it was a good question, let’s keep in touch.” I gave her an “Indian Head Penny” business card and she thanked me.
Ayumi Horie Joel Cherrico Pottery 2014, Musing About Mug Guest Blog PostAyumi Horie Instagram, Joel Cherrico Pottery, 2014    
The next day she blew up my Instagram. I was so happy I got teary eyed. I mean here was a person I’ve been studying closely, copying her web design, scrutinizing all of her accomplishments, for over 5 years. She finally sees my work and actually likes it. That validation was pretty powerful. That wasn’t the only time tears came up in the conference.
Danny Meisinger was also the guy who broke the news to me that Don Reitz had passed away. He said, “Don’t be sad. Reitz lived a great life, he died in the company of his friend (and heroic clay artist) Jun Kaneko and family by his side. He said, ‘I’m gunna go lay down for a while’ and that’s exactly what he did. Death is just another path.” I still went to my car and balled like a little kid. Why did his death hit so hard? Maybe it was seeing him go through 2 wheelbarrows of clay in 2 days during a 2009 workshop in Flagstaff, AZ. Maybe it was meeting Christa Assad at that same workshop, where we had both had been so moved by his slide lecture that we were brought to tears.

Don Reitz Throwing, 3 Images, Joel Cherrico Pottery, Abstract Expressionism in Clay, Flagstaff AZ

Don Reitz Workshop, Flagstaff AZ, photos by Joel Cherrico

Christa Assad Facebook, Don Reitz, Joel Cherrico, NCECA 2014 
Maybe it was the fact that I was talking about Reitz with Christa earlier that day- all on Facebook! Or the fact that Reitz had zero pots at NCECA that year, and Christa couldn’t attend because she’s recovering from the fire that burnt down her studio. Either way, the experience of Reitz passing away was powerful, and we shared some powerful moments, even though it was only on Facebook.
Christa Assad Facebook NCECA 2014 Joel Cherrico Pottery
“The people I meet on social media are really the same people when you meed them in person. It’s kind of amazing.” – Carole Epp.
Carole gave me a huge hug at NCECA when I first met her.
The last day, emerging artist Renee Brown started her presentation with a great quote from Reitz. I frantically wrote it down. I think it encapsulates his life as an Abstract Expressionist in clay, and his love of NCECA:
Don Reitz Quote, NCECA 2014 Closing Lecture, Joel Cherrico Pottery, 2014
The conference ended and I wandered over the Milwaukee “Historic Third Ward” to walk around the Marshall building…….which has over 20 galleries inside! I wandered in and out of the Timothy Cobb Fine Art Gallery and struck up a conversation with the owner, Tim. I pulled out my leather bound journal to ask Tim questions and jot down answers.
As we spoke, both of his NCECA exhibiting artists walked in- a local Milwaukee sculptor Carrie Chimenti and Stephanie Rozene, Associate Professor at Hartwick College, followed by 5 of her students.
Then Tim said, “Joel I know a great BBQ place, you’re coming to dinner with us, I’m buying.”
Next came beers, whiskey, BBQ, and two hours of deep conversation about the professional art world. The artists were kind enough to buy my meal and drinks and let me give them pottery from my car as a thanks. As Tim left he said, “Keep writing in that journal, people will keep inviting you places.”
So how can an emerging artist stand out among the thousands of postcards, world class ceramics and crowds of diehard clay folk? I think the key is not to stand out, but to join the conversation.
Pottery Meme, Joel Cherrico Pottery Success Kid


Saturday, April 12, 2014

emerging artist: Rachel Donner

"Within me there is a vital want to constantly use my hands. The most appropriate way I have found to do this is through the creation of functional ceramic objects. I strive to make work that is lighthearted in appearance while relatively simple in form and function. Through use of multiple surface decoration techniques, I depict simple patterns and shapes inorder to create intrigue through variation in depth and texture. I aim to create clean surfaces and forms by practicing a mildly meditative style of working in order to maintain handmade sensibility. I find with each object I make and decorate that I am struck by new ideas for design and form, never quite feeling satisfied and always expanding upon my ideas. Creating functional items is something that I find compelling and humbling. With my pots I intend to create a space that someone can momentarily find solace in while using. " - Rachel Donner

Wednesday, April 9, 2014

residency opportunity: Red Lodge Clay Center

The Short-Term Residency (any time between September 1 - May 31) is ideal for the ceramic artist who is working to complete a special project or studio focus from 2 to 8 weeks' time. Accepted short-term residents are provided with studio space and 24 hour access to the studio. Housing is available for $500.00 per month or a prorated basis congruent with the scheduled residency. Short-term residents will be responsible for personal living expenses, as well as all material and firing expenses. The application deadline is May 1st annually. The Red Lodge Clay Center welcomes applications from ceramic artists who will thrive working as a team, in a community minded atmosphere

Application Deadline: May 1, 2014

Application Fee: $40

The Red Lodge Clay Center welcomes applications from ceramic artists who will thrive working as a team, in a community minded atmosphere.

The ceramics studio is located approximately six miles north of Red Lodge, 463 Two Mile Bridge Road. A form of transportation is necessary for the duration of the residency. Resident artists have 24-hour access to the ceramics studio. For more detailed information on material needs and studio equipment please contact the Red Lodge Clay Center.

Apply Online at Slideroom


c.r.e.t.a. rome: Artist Residency in Rome, Italy: FALL WINTER 2014

Our summer residencies in Rome are full, but there is still a possibility of a one or two month residency in our studio in the countryside for the months of June, July and August. The successful applicant(s) will have a one-bedroom house and garden plus a private studio. We provide technical assistance and a final show in our studio in Rome.

This option is particularly attractive for those who want to bring their partners/spouse or family. The house is a 5-minute drive from the train station and just 10 minutes from the lake of Bracciano, a popular holiday spot. We have both low and high-fire kilns and this studio allows reduction firing too using gas kilns.

The cost is the same as our Rome residencies. The deadline for applications is 1 May. Preference will be given to applicants interested in longer periods.

Contact us if you would like more info or for application details.

Apply now for fall/winter residencies at c.r.e.t.a. rome! Deadline is 15 May 2014.

c.r.e.t.a. rome offers self-funded residencies to ceramicists and visual artists for periods ranging from 6 weeks to 3 months. The residency includes a semi-private equipped studio, private or shared apartments in the historical center of Rome, and technical assistance in procuring materials, firings, etc., advice on museums, galleries and sites in Rome and beyond.

We also have a residency in the countryside near the lake of Bracciano to the north of Rome. The resident is housed in a one-bedroom house with garden and will have a private studio. This option is particularly attractive for ceramicists who work with reduction firing or larger-scale. Collaborative projects are also welcome.

Artists will have the opportunity to focus on their art, whether it be creating a new body of work, expanding a well-established oeuvre or allowing themselves to draw inspiration from their surroundings and the centuries of culture that define the eternal city. In addition, artists will have access to the wealth of galleries and exhibitions in Rome and beyond. Each resident will have an opportunity to present a proposal to exhibit the work produced during the residency period in a final show.

Further info can be found on our web-site. We accept electronic applications sent to by 15 May 2014 (15 April for early application).
  • curriculum vitae
  • artist statement (250 words max)
  • project proposal (500 words max)
  • 10 images (jpeg or pdf)
  • image list: year, dimensions, material
  • preferred residency period
13 August-23 September
25 September - 4 November
6 November - 16 December

residency opportunity: TAOS Clay Studio - DEADLINE APRIL 15th!!!

Residency at Taos Clay

Taos Clay offers two full-time residencies to emerging clay artists, BFA or MFA preferred. Residents are offered a $250 monthly stipend for materials, a semi-private studio space (to be shared with one other resident), free firings, and the opportunity to sell their work in the gallery, in exchange for 16-20 hours of work per week. Each resident will have the opportunity to present a slide talk about their work to the local community, and an individual show featuring work produced during the residency will take place at the end of the year. Currently, resident artists are required to provide their own housing.

Taos Clay offers a studio resident position and a gallery resident position. The studio resident's duties include firing, mixing glaze, mixing clay, maintenance, kiln repairs, making sure the studio runs smoothly on a day-to-day basis, and enrolling new studio members. The gallery resident's duties include contacting artists, helping plan shows, photographing work, helping with online sales, marketing, social media, etc. Installing and taking down shows, talking to customers, and planning fundraisers. Both residents teach one class as part of their work exchange. Paid opportunities for teaching may also be available.

Both residency positions give insight into managing a clay studio and gallery, while enabling residents to develop a body of work through access to a diverse range of firing techniques and equipment. Residents must demonstrate a willingness to work with the local community, and a desire to grow in your own work. They must bring a high level of professionalism and competency to the studio that enriches the quality of our programs and facility.

Taos Clay is currently accepting applications for a Gallery Resident to begin June 1, 2014, and for a Studio Resident to begin August 1, 2014. Applications are due by April 15 for the Gallery residency and June 15 for the studio residency.

Apply Here!

support "This is a Stereotype: Initiating Dialogue" Kickstarter by Cannupa Hanska Luger

Read more about the project here:
Support it here:
Visit the artist's website here:

Porcelain Jewelry with Olivia Monti

movie day: A Passion for Porcelain 2013

A Passion for Porcelain 2013 from Shelley O'Keefe on Vimeo.

John is a ceramicist who loves porcelain. He lives in Bellingen NSW where he built a studio so he can pursue his love. He teaches ceramics there one day a week. John draws his inspiration from the surrounding landscape and in this video he talks about his particular passion for porcelain.
This is my first video and I want to thank Liz Keen from ABC Open, for mentoring me throughout the process.
Music: Indian Summer by Zero V

Tuesday, April 8, 2014

call for entry: International Ceramic triennial UNICUM

The National Museum of Slovenia is setting up the III. International Triennial of Ceramics Unicum 2015. Triennial is a connection between international and Slovene area and it gives a fresh insight into artistic ceramics. Its intention is searching for elementary artistic research in connection to contemporary thought. III. International Triennial of Ceramics Unicum 2015 contains competitive part and accompanying events and exhibitions all over Slovenia.
For more information visit our website:

Call for applications and application form on our website:

a lovely way to spend Mother's day if you're in the prairies....

technical tuesday: Glazing a Mug Using Mutiple Glazes with Hsin-Chuen Lin

tick tock....times almost out.

inter[re]actions by Didem Mert

April 17th-25th, 2014
Northern Kentucky University

Fine Arts Center Main Gallery
Gallery hours: Mon-Fri 9am-9pm

Opening reception
Thursday, April 17th 5pm-7pm

Parking in welcome garage

Didem Mert