We eagerly anticipate the participation of Sandi Pierantozzi and Neil Patterson in our 2018 "16hands Spring Studio Tour". They will be traveling here from Philadelphia for the 3rd time to share their work with us.
My current work involves a combination of carving, slip inlay and slip trailing, with colored slips, underglazes, and oxide washes, sometimes including impressed texture. By using a variety of surface techniques I feel very engaged with the pot. After many years of using only impressed texture, I felt the urge to explore other methods of surface decoration. Now I often incorporate more than one technique on each piece. Slip trailing and slip inlay, while very challenging, are exciting for me because it is much like writing and drawing, two things I love to do. These techniques of applying designs by carving into, or putting on top of the surface, instead of imbedding into clay, have allowed me to explore texture in a whole new way.
I am inspired by the world around me. Nature, architecture, jewelry and bead design, pattern, especially fabric designs, are constant sources for me. I grew up around fabric and it continues to inspire my work. I have chosen to make functional pots because I appreciate food, celebration, and setting a beautiful table. In this "age of communication," where most communicating is done electronically, and so much food is being eaten out of paper, plastic or Styrofoam, my hope is to have my humanity show through my pots, by bringing some creative life into eating and drinking. A handmade pot contains the soul and energy of the maker, and when used, a human connection is made. These basic connections between people keep our souls alive.
Neil makes pots that are designed to be used and enjoyed. There is always an evidence of the soft material, clay, often bolstered by a formal or architectural structure. He knows that to have an intimate connection to the hand formed object is vital to a full life. To experience the touch of a potters hand while savoring a cup of coffee or a bowl of soup is one of life's sublime pleasures.
PAST VISITNG ARTISTS
The joy of using pots every day goes hand in hand with loving to make useful pots for others to embrace in their daily lives. My current work focuses primarily on wheel-throwing using porcelain clay, and occasionally using stoneware clay, to make useful wares such as drinking vessels, bowls, plates and an assortment of pots that can be used in the kitchen for food preparation. The feel and the smell of the clay, the beauty of the wet pots, the variety of glaze results, and the making of new forms are all a part of why pottery-making is a compelling life pursuit for me. Knowing that others enjoy using those pots makes it all even better.
The porcelain glazing this year explores a bright white glaze, also modified to make pale blue and pale green versions, having a soft, satin-feeling surface that is contrasted by the use of colored clear glazes on the same piece. The stoneware pots are glazed with our studio glazes that my husband, Will Swanson, uses for his pots: shino, carbon trap, white shino, my old 7-White from my early years, and occasionally a black/temmoku. The white that I use on the porcelain, and its soft blue and green variations, are also being applied to the stoneware with very interesting and pleasantly touchable results. Everything is high-fired in a gas reduction-atmosphere kiln.
Tom and Maggie participated in our spring tour May 6th and 7th 2017
When I reflect on what pots I make and why I make them, growing up in Minnesota is really the source. Having a great public education where ceramics was offered as an elective and being exposed to places like the Northern Clay Center, Minneapolis Institute of Art and the St. Croix Pottery Tour. My pots are just riff on the wonderful pottery tradition of Minnesota. As my work evolves from different outside sources such as Piet Mondrian, the Bauhaus movement or Lucie Rie, I just put my Minnesota spin on these other sources that I find compelling.
My current work is made of red earthenware and fired to Cone 3. It often has a small detail of color blocking or graphic. I enjoy the confines of minimalism and I would describe my work as minimal. I try to give my minimal work depth through layering. First the scraped brick clay, second the liquid and rich skin of the slip added and the last flat bit of color.
I make hand-built earthenware vessels that draw on the quiet, minimal forms of basic function, such as basins, troughs and baskets. Surfaces emphasize the subtleties of material, process and firing as the primary decorative elements – dragged grog, finger marks, the layering of slips and terra sigillata, and the dulled whites and blacks that come from reduction firing at a low temperature.
Smaller pieces like plates, cups, mugs and bowls are wheel-thrown, then scraped and pared down in form and reduction fired. Most recently I have been pulling from my long love of textiles to add pattern and color to this smaller work.