This year’s annual Mother’s Day Student Pottery Sale, showcasing the work of students and instructors, is May 13 & 14 from 10 am to 5 pm in the Mezzanine Studio at Kirkland Arts Center, located at 620 Market Street, Kirkland, WA 98033. Here are some of the students and teachers and their pieces. The Education Team is proud to support their efforts. See more during the sale: firstname.lastname@example.org.
As an artist, I am driven by a search for simplicity and clarity in a world that often seems uncertain and complex. My work with porcelain and a limited palette of black and red on white reflects this quest for absoluteness.
Working with a single medium and a restricted range of colors forces me to focus on the essentials of form and composition, stripping away unnecessary distractions to create pieces that are both elegant and powerful. By using black and red against a white background, I can explore the interplay between light and shadow, positive and negative space, creating pieces that are both bold and delicate. The smooth, reflective surface of porcelain serves as a canvas for my exploration of line and pattern, inviting the viewer to engage with the intricate details of each piece.
But my work is not just about aesthetics. It is also a reflection of my personal philosophy, a belief in the power of clarity and conviction. In a world where everything seems relative and subjective, where truth is often hard to discern, I find comfort in the simplicity of black and white. By focusing on the essentials of form and composition, I hope to create pieces that are not only visually striking but also emotionally resonant, inviting the viewer into a world of simplicity, clarity, and conviction.
Diana Austin is a Northwest Artist who specializes in Clay Sculptures and Hand built pottery. She has been a part of the Kirkland Art Center for the past four years. Diana enjoys incorporating nature, animals, and indigenous tribal images into her whimsical Sculptures and pottery.
Brooke Cerny (she/her)
Brooke is a Seattle, Washington based ceramic artist working predominantly in sculptural vessels & functional wares. Her latest works explore themes of time and flow-state through an exploration of light and texture. She primarily uses techniques of throwing on the wheel and using tools to alter her thrown vessels to transform them into more sculptural forms.
I discovered clay as an art form as a teenager. I fell in love with the elegant beauty handmade pots bring to our everyday lives. As a potter, I am constantly fascinated by the ways clay can be shaped and transformed into beautiful objects. I am drawn to functional wares – pottery pieces that can be used in everyday life. Opening my cupboard and choosing a mug for my morning coffee or offering tea from a teapot with a story adds pleasure to my daily rituals.
The process of making objects from clay are endless, from creating on a potter’s wheel to hand building using my own custom stamps and rollers. My pieces are inspired by the vistas and landscapes of the Pacific Northwest. I carve gnarled evergreen trees into my cups. I make vases for flowers snipped from my garden as well as gorgeous bouquets from the store. I paint sailboats and herons from the San Juan Islands onto serving sets. Color and stories are important facets to my surface designs. I hope my pieces bring joy to you encouraging you to slow down and observe the beauty that surrounds us.
As a new emerging potter and ceramic artist, I find immense joy in the process of working, playing and exploring clay at every level. I started pottery as an hobby during Covid 19, but if I look back, I have always enjoyed playing with mud since childhood. I have found a passion towards it, that I did not realize, I had it in me.
I am very much grateful and thankful to Kirkland Ceramics studio teachers, staff and community for all the inspiration. This is just the beginning of the lifelong learning and experience with clay! I hope you enjoy some of my pieces from that I worked during Winter Quarter!
If you’re reading this bio, it’s because of the love of my mother. Thirty years ago, she signed me up for pottery classes where my passion for pottery was ignited. I took a bus by myself with all of my tools and clay and pieces and had an independent life nurturing my artistic side. It must have been a funny sight to see me on that bus!
Flash forward a few decades and I find myself at the KAC as both student and instructor! I enjoy throwing on the wheel and crafting functional pottery, especially mugs and bowls. I find the glazing process magical and love using two glazes, that when overlapped, create a beautiful third color. As an instructor, I love working with beginner potters, coaching them through all the challenging phases of wheel-throwing and encouraging their creativity.
Thanks, Mom, for giving the gift of pottery! Love you!
Over the last few years as a student at Kirkland Arts Center, I have immersed myself in various techniques of hand building. I love the flexibility and the unlimited range of possibilities that one can explore with hand building in clay. I enjoy playing with bright colors, textures, and unusual shapes. Cooking for family and friends has always been my passion and serving my food in my hand-built pottery pieces has added great joy to both the processes. I strive to create a striking contrast between unglazed stained surfaces and smooth glossy glazes in my finished pieces. I am currently working with both low-fire and high-fire clay.
A long time KAC student and Kirkland resident, I take inspiration from nature and all that surrounds me to capture simplicity in form and function.
What is Horse Hair Raku?
The process begins with forming a piece by throwing on the wheel or sculpting with clay. Once the piece has dried completely, a super fine clay slip called terra sigillata is brushed on and buffed. This step is repeated four to five times until a high sheen is obtained. The piece is then fired once to make it durable. It is fired for a second time in a Raku kiln, to reach temperatures of 1200-1400F quickly. Once this temperature is reached, the hot kiln is opened to extract the pot while still glowing hot. Horse hair is immediately and carefully placed on the pot. The horse hair singes and burns onto the surface of the hot pot, leaving behind permanently scorched, intensely black smoky patterns. These beautifully random markings can never be totally controlled, and the results must simply be accepted as a gift bestowed by the elements. Pieces fired in this technique cannot be used to hold water.
What does Horse Hair Raku mean to me?
I find the technique of horse hair raku both mysterious and captivating. My passion is for the process; borrowing a lump of the earth to create a form, making and applying the terra sigillata and polishing the surface to a high sheen, and then allowing the surface to be “decorated” by the random markings left by the interaction of the heat and the horse hair and nothing else. For me, leaving my work and its surface to the randomness of the process is a challenge and a need at the same time. Within this ancient process there have been several opportunities to add new twists, such as my addition of mica powders to obtain a shimmery smooth surface. This entire process with its historic beginnings and elemental qualities has captivated me, and led me to pursue new ideas and find meaning in the process.
Ellen has been working in clay for many years, at Kirkland Arts Center since 2021. She enjoys making functional wheel thrown objects and exploring the interactions of the clay body, surface design and various glazes. She believes in the handmade gift.
I am not a historic photographer of my work….: i just make it. If I were to photograph just the 7 years of highly productive painting/printmaking/ceramics/design/ for my BFA, MFA long ago it would blow viewers minds…. So much learning, working, mistake making…. Art is so marketing now…I haven’t the time or energy to do it. My life is short.
There is much laughter, research, birdwatching, painting, sculpturing, traveling, reading, laughing, thinking to do.
Never been a pedantic art teacher, colleague, friend, director, student, successful/failure professional, mother, wife, widow, leftover and it’s too late to be one now. I can list my exhibits etc but I now question why. What you see is what you get.
I have been throwing pots for over 40 years now, having started when I was in high school. I have had a home studio at times, and, over the years, been in numerous community studios. Mostly, I find myself drawn to functional pottery, enjoying the organic nature of stoneware casseroles or fermenting crocks. Lately I have been experimenting with more decorative pots that emerge from pit fires, with intriguing results.
I enjoy the infinite possibilities of working with clay and creating functional pieces that please the eye. Whether throwing on the wheel or hand-building, I continually experiment with forms and surfaces, aiming to draw viewers in for a closer look.
As a potter, I find immense joy in creating functional pieces that not only serve a purpose, but also evoke beauty and emotion. My love for throwing on the wheel stems from the mesmerizing process of shaping raw clay into form and function. For me, the exploration of color, texture, and decoration with surface design is where ceramics truly come to life. Each piece is an opportunity to experiment with new ideas and techniques, to create a distinct and visually captivating piece.
Inspired by nature and the beauty that surrounds us, my work explores the connection between form, function, and aesthetics. I believe that every piece has its own story to tell and that the beauty of each piece lies in its uniqueness. Ultimately, my goal is to create pieces that will be cherished for years to come, evoking memories and feelings of joy with each use.
My pieces are almost all thrown on the potter’s wheel in stoneware. For decoration I prefer to use processes where their randomness creates the decoration rather than purposefully creating designs and shapes on the pots. Most pieces are high fire functional pieces, either soda fired or wood fired. Other pieces, though, are finished in low temperature processes like Raku, Saggar, and Pit Firing. These pieces are for decoration only and are not functional.