2021 Emerging Artist: Nom Ceramics

Nom Ceramics, Austin, Texas

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

Nom Ceramics (Rebeca Milton and Scott Proctor): Our shared background as mixed-media sculptors influences our work. We view each ceramic object as a sculpture and every glazed surface as a painting.

Form, texture, tension, and balance are always at the forefront of our process. The function of a piece develops alongside form, sometimes in harmony and other times through tension. Harmony and tension become our playground as we push and pull from one form to create another, and this in turn informs the glazed surfaces.

Our collaboration is ignited by our purpose and is fostered by our combined interests, values, and skill sets. Our complementary approach is always focused on building synergy from idea to design to final ceramic piece. Individually, we have our own preferred methods of making, which often intersect at some point before bisque firing, and then become unified when we start the glazing process.

1 Darker Florals Vase, 25 in. (64 cm) in height, stoneware, glaze, soda/salt fired to cone 10, 2020.

Our glazed surfaces are the result of collaboration, research, and imagination. We explore art history, contemporary art, botanical drawings, architecture, and more, as well as observe nature in our neighborhood on daily outings. Research, combined with a knowledge of ceramic materials, chemistry, and atmospheric firing, results in objects with inherent characteristics that seem to have made their own decisions in the kiln.

While the initial surface concept may be clear, we allow ourselves room to let the drawings and imagery flow and grow across an object without restriction. It is not uncommon for a piece to take a 180° turn while working and become something new and unexpected. These unplanned directions lead us to new journeys of discovery in an ongoing cycle of developing forms that inspire the next ones, and surfaces that build upon each other in content and complexity.

2 Flat Florals Vase, 18 in. (46 cm) in height, stoneware, glaze, soda/salt fired to cone 10, 2020.

CM: What excites you about the field of ceramics?

NC: We are excited by the fact that artists in this field come to the table with the same material, yet they produce such a magnitude of diverse and wonderful objects. In a world filled with disruptive technologies, clay remains an essential and irreplaceable material embedded in nature and history. To work with this material and create our own path within this field is an exciting endeavor. We are energized about developing new work in the field, making discoveries in new forms and techniques, adding to ceramic history, and being a voice in conversations that will span the ages. Sharing our work with others keeps us motivated, as the ceramics community is an integral part of our craft. We embrace being a part of something much bigger and more encompassing than our individual practice.

To learn more, visit www.nomceramics.com.

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