From the Editor: May 2019

The editorial staff always looks forward to putting the Emerging Artist issue together. While it is quite a task to review 371 submissions, narrow down the entries, and then make our selections, we are inspired and energized by the work that we see, and look forward to sharing it with readers. The selected artists, all of whom have been seriously pursuing a career in ceramics for ten years or less, are pushing the medium’s potential to articulate their personal perspectives, as well as to enrich the lives of those who view and interact with their vessels, sculptures, and installations.   

1 Eric Heerspink’s large bowl, 11 in. (28 cm) in diameter, dark stoneware, terra sigillata glaze, fired to cone 5 in an electric kiln, 2018.

When selecting the emerging artists, we evaluated the demonstrated level of skill and proficiency with building techniques, proportion, scale, refinement of form, and execution of the glazing or other surface solutions. We also looked for stylistic consistency and cohesiveness in the body of work shown in the artists’ images, and assessed the overall image quality. We discussed the concepts being explored, and the ways artists showed their engagement with and understanding of the current field of ceramic art. We also considered how the artists are innovating within—or even pushing beyond—various established traditions or genres.   

This year, several themes surfaced in the references and inspiration for the work made by the selected artists, though their means of visual expression are quite diverse.

2 Raven Halfmoon’s Wolf (Ta’-sha) Leads the Caddo People Out of Darkness, 24 in. (61 cm) in width, mid-range stoneware, glaze, fired in an electric kiln, 2018.

Nostalgia, memory, and understanding how cultures, personal histories, and relationships shape us play a significant role in many of these artists’ creative research. Working from a wider perspective, several artists address societal concerns, like preserving cultural heritage and traditions, confronting racism and intolerance, and fostering inclusivity.

In addition, investigations of specific landscapes, the nuances of place, ecological systems, environmental degradation, and how human interactions impact the local and global environment guide a number of artists’ practices.

3 Austin Riddle’s creamers, 4 in. (10 cm) in height, porcelain, soda fired to cone 11, 2018. Photo: Robert Batey.

A few of the artists are also exploring ways to express the intangible, from emotions and an individual’s experience of their state of being, to the ways they process information about the world around them. Others focus on tangible visual culture, including the aesthetic principles, ethos, and impact of architecture, design, and artistic movements past and present on our behavior and emotions.

We hope you enjoy this issue devoted to up-and-coming artists. Their diverse approaches to working in clay and the impressive range of sources that inspire their pieces are a testament to the strength and energy that exists right now in our field.

- Jessica Knapp, Editor

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