2020 Emerging Artist: Dane Hodges

Dane Hodges, Minneapolis, Minnesota

Ceramics Monthly: What do you see as the current trends in ceramics, and where do you see yourself in the field?

Dane Hodges: Because of the overwhelming selection of trends, I’ll focus on those relating to functional ceramics.

Alternatives to common glazes are trending, be it underglazes, engobes, terra sigillatas, or simply raw clay. Because of the visual impact and tactility of these surfaces, many artists combine and contrast glazes and alternative matte surfaces or use little to no exterior glaze at all. Often times the use of these materials manifests in illustrative designs, geometric color blocking, or in a rather expressionistic application. In addition to this, I have noticed that ceramic artists are using red/black/colored clay bodies. I see these trends as both an embrace of and departure from traditional pottery. It is great to see that though similar materials and surfaces are prominent, we are presented with such different finished results.

1 Dane Hodges’ whiskey sippers, 3½ in. (9 cm) in height, wheel-thrown, etched, and altered porcelain mix, glaze, fired to cone 6 in oxidation, 2019.

My current work positions me on the outside of these trending aesthetics. It really is a fine line between creating what you are compelled to and following the trends to ensure relevancy and sales. Honestly, sometimes that decision is a difficult one. I am currently experimenting with how the concepts can be applied to my work in a manner true to my aesthetic.

CM: How do you come up with the forms and surfaces that are prominent in your work?

DH: When planning forms, I focus on fluidity and an organic aesthetic related to floral buds, pistils, bulbs, as well as other natural elements. Often, forms manifest as full bellied and voluminous with flared altered rims. Recently, I have enjoyed creating straight-walled pots with slight inflation, to juxtapose the curvaceous ones. In either case, I am drawn to clean, full, and elegant forms.

2 Dane Hodges’ medium jar, 6½ in. (17 cm) in height, wheel-thrown, etched, and altered porcelain mix, glaze, fired to cone 6 in oxidation, 2019.

In developing surfaces I came across the Begonia maculata, which has dark green leaves with surprisingly uniform white spots. There was something striking about these and I began applying an even more rigid version of this surface to some of my work.

I spent quite a while formulating glazes a few years back, and in doing so, I experimented with layering a dark green and white matte glaze. Layering promotes movement and flow, allows for breaking almost white in areas where the matte glaze is thicker, reveals variations in the high-iron gloss, and leads to changes in color from pot to pot, or kiln to kiln. Variation in an otherwise controlled making process adds some warmth and softness.

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