2021 Emerging Artist: Samantha Momeyer

Samantha Momeyer, Helena, Montana

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

Samantha Momeyer: Color is deeply tied to place and memory, emotion, and nostalgia. When I use a pink mug, I remember the Red Dye 40–infused candy of childhood and the glowing pink of Denali, North America’s tallest mountain peak, in the rising sun, seen for the first time. Chartreuse, deep green, and orange remind me of Appalachian dirt roads, the ditches bursting with wild tiger lilies. Yesterday, I walked my dog past an old, mint-colored Ford Ranger parked under a rowan tree drooping with orange berries, in front of a baby blue house, stark in contrast against the indigo of Mt. Helena looming in the background, and instantly visualized the color palette as a pot in my mind. The colors I use are distillations of my everyday surroundings, whether in a city or in nature, and although the viewer may not share my personal experiences, I hope my use of color can be both aesthetically pleasing and reminiscent of a fond memory or place of the viewer’s own.

1 Pitchers, 12 in. (30 cm) in height, porcelain, Mason stains, Amaco underglazes, liner glaze, soda ash, fired to cone 6, 2020.

CM: What do you see as the current trends in ceramics and where do you see yourself in that field?

SM: Along with everything else, ceramics has changed remarkably in the past year. The external force of the pandemic has meant adapting to a virtual workplace. While this is isolating in a physical sense, especially in such a community-based medium, it has enabled lots of folks to be able to take advantage of virtual learning opportunities that were previously unavailable due to cost, distance, or time constraints, making information more accessible. In addition, amidst the self-reflection of quarantine, I know my work has undergone some drastic transformations, and I’m sure this is true for many makers. It will be interesting to see the upcoming stylistic and conceptual trends over the next few years, along with the continuation of the evolution of the virtual classroom. And as we attempt to heal as a country and take steps toward a brighter future, I am hopeful the ceramics community is on the cusp of some important changes, as well. As a member of the LGBTQ+ community, I believe we must strive to make ceramics a more diverse and inclusive field, and with a lot of hard and necessary work, I’m optimistic this can be our future, too.

2 Decanter set, 12 in. (30 cm) in length, porcelain, Mason stains, Amaco underglazes, liner glaze, soda ash, fired to cone 6, 2020.

CM: What do you think the role of a maker is within our current culture and how do you think you contribute to it?

SM: I sometimes wonder if making pottery has any role in a world that is moving so fast, and is so full of political, socio-economic, and environmental turmoil. But that is precisely why artists do play a role. As makers, we seek to create human connection in a digital, intangible world. Some work is overtly political and inspires people to action, while other work offers quiet beauty, a moment of respite amid the endless scrolling news cycles of social media. Making functional pottery inspired by peaceful memories and moments in nature, I hope to provide a sense of comfort during these difficult times. Sometimes our only time to slow down and enjoy a moment of peace is over our morning cup of coffee. I hope to turn that daily ritual into a small moment of joy for folks trapped in the stress and monotony of our current daily lives.

To learn more, visit www.samanthamomeyer.com.


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