2021 Emerging Artist: Lily Lund

Lily Lund, Buffalo, Minnesota

Ceramics Monthly: What role does color play in your work?

Lily Lund: When I was a child, I was the one to put on every single color, texture, or pattern from my closet. Color was a way of presenting how I felt; it was a way of talking without having to do so. I now make pottery that reflects the person I am, and what I have to say. I like to think that every surface I create, every abstract painting, is a self portrait.

I view color as a link to one’s senses. Color is heavily involved in our five senses and perceptions; it is rooted in psychology, biological conditioning, and cultural imprinting, which means people react differently to specific colors. For example, when one sees the color yellow, they can feel happiness, joy, and even frustration and anxiety. This color can also spark associations of memories like a tall glass of lemonade at a fair or the smell of a yellow taxi cab’s exhaust in New York, while also reminding you of the texture of a lemon peel.

1 Peachy Princess, Americano Mug, 5 in. (13 cm) in height, handbuilt mid-range black porcelain, porcelain slip, silica-sand based slip, Amaco underglazes, fired to cone 6 in oxidation, 2020.

Employing color abstractions from my life, I create work that can speak to a larger number of people. I recently created a collection of 50 pots that were an ode to Midwest winters. Within this collection were nods to hidden objects under snow, wishes of spring, and freezing cold temperatures. Through color and texture, I created a story for myself and others who have experienced Midwest winters by making associations within my surfaces.

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

LL: I create forms that I enjoy using. That’s a really simplified answer, but when it comes to constructing pieces, I think about the connections I want to make with my users. I collect pottery to be connected to others’ work, but also to other artists themselves. When using forms like mugs, plates, etc., I think about why the artist made that form, which then makes me want to explore the piece further. Similarly, I want someone to be reminded of me when using my work, have the feeling of being together in the same space, and be drawn in to touch and interact with the piece.

I leave traces of seams hidden under the surfaces of my slab-built forms to hint at the making process. By leaving these small moments throughout my pieces, users can continue to make new discoveries over time.

2 Summer Dreams, Bud Vase, 8 in. (20 cm) in length, handbuilt mid-range black porcelain, porcelain slip, silica-sand based slip, Amaco underglazes, fired to cone 6 in oxidation, 2021.

The arched, upside-down U, a recurrent shape in my work, represents a crossing into something new. In a state of continuous exploration, the uniqueness of surface and form are continual considerations of new colors, textures, marks, and conversations.

To learn more, visit LilyLundCeramics.com.

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