2021 Emerging Artist: Jacob Monroe

Jacob Monroe, Eugene, Oregon

Ceramics Monthly: How do you come up with the forms and surfaces that are prevalent in your work?

Jacob Monroe: I am influenced by the imagery, objects, events, and experiences of my surroundings and use photography as a tool to design my work. Taking inspiration from 15th- to 17th-century production pottery, printmaking, and textiles, I work with porcelain and surface decoration. The dialog between 3D-printed plastic that’s then used to create slip-casting molds and wheel-thrown pots fascinates me. I like when my wares are slightly off center and using a clay body that loves to slump and shift at high temperatures accentuates that. Subtle imperfections and lumps on thrown pots contrast the angular, digitally-modeled and slip-cast parts, while glaze ties everything together. This reminds me of the buildings and houses nestled into the hills of Missoula, Montana, where these series began. I often use cars, hotel signs, bones, and dice as symbols to create a narrative attached to my pots.

1 Weight of the World, 5 in. (13 cm) in length, New Zealand porcelain, fired to cone 6 in oxidation, 2021.

While sometimes the stories I tell are simply glimpses of moments in time that I capture with my camera, I often find myself responding to relevant world events that I cannot photograph in the same way. This has become more prevalent as the pandemic reshapes how I interact with my neighborhood.

CM: What do you do to push yourself to stay engaged with the field of ceramics and develop new forms?

JM: Creating pots is my conduit for connecting with my community. The surfaces and shapes of these pots help me reflect, understand, and share my surroundings. I feel great joy making art and these pots have gifted me a new outlook on beauty as I translate my memories into porcelain. The pots take on their own stories as they move into other peoples’ homes, which is incredible.

2 Downtowner, 9 in. (23 cm) in height, Grolleg porcelain, fired to cone 11 in reduction, 2021.

To learn more, visit monroeclay.com.

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