2020 Emerging Artist: Jackie Head

Jackie Head, Indianapolis, Indiana

Ceramics Monthly: What excites you about the field of ceramics?

Jackie Head: I love how everything is constantly changing. People continue to find innovative ways to challenge themselves and their studio practices. I once had an undergraduate professor, Tim Mather, remind me that ceramics has been around for thousands of years and not to worry about making something that has already been made, because everything has been made before. Despite this fact, ceramic artists continue to find ways to explore and share new ideas and approaches with the material. There is a collective hunger in our community to keep pursuing this crazy passion, and we keep moving forward.

1 Jackie Head’s Kaleidoscope II, 3 ft. 4 in. (1 m) in length, porcelain, fired to cone 6, paint, 2019.

My drive to pursue ceramics stems from the feeling it gives me. Being in my studio makes me feel like I’m right where I need and want to be. It’s exciting to think that other people have that same connection, and that we are all so passionate about this material. It ties us together in so many ways, and I think that is another reason why our community is so tight knit. Within my own body of work, I feel like there is still so much more for me to learn and explore, as if I’ve just seen the tip of the iceberg, which is exciting.

CM: What roles do color and repeated forms play in your work?

JH: Colors and patterns are at the root of my work. I begin all of my pieces with sources of inspiration—mosaics, fabrics, wallpapers, and shapes found in my surroundings—that inform the shapes I develop for my installations. From there, I am able to bring the patterns to life by sculpting them three dimensionally.

2 Jackie Head’s Convergence, 8 ft. (2.4 m) in length, porcelain, glaze, fired to cone 6, 2019.

Repeated patterns and forms allow me to create a sense of comfort or tension for the viewer, as well as myself. The process of developing my installations is very personal and allows me to reflect on my life. It offers a space for me to process and cope with the world around me. The repetition of slip casting allows me to consider the world and capture what I am going through at that time.

With my color selections, I am able to further push the emotions conveyed to the viewer and to further capture my reality. Creating densely packed tile installations with brightly colored tiles can bring joy to a viewer. However, if contrasting colors are placed next to each other in a densely packed installation, it may convey tension or anxiety.

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