Design for the Soft Surface with Ben Carter

In this edition of the Ceramic Arts Daily Presents video series, Ben Carter shares his methods for integrating surface design with altered wheel-thrown and handbuilt pottery. Referencing pillows, tufted furniture, and quilts, Carter imbues his pots with softness in a variety of ways—from altering freshly thrown pots to create volume, to stretching soft clay into foam slump molds. Using this overfilled aesthetic as a metaphor for the comfort of southern hospitality, he complements the soft forms with slip and underglaze decoration using sgraffito, slip trailing, and painting techniques.

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Ben Carter

About the Artist

Ben Carter is a studio potter from Roanoke, Virginia. He holds a BFA in painting and ceramics from Appalachian State University, and an MFA in ceramics from the University of Florida. Carter has been a resident artist at the The Odyssey Center for Ceramic Art, Anderson Ranch Arts Center, and the Archie Bray Foundation. In 2010, he moved to Shanghai, China, to be the educational director of the Pottery Workshop Shanghai. Recently, he moved back to the United States to set up a studio in Santa Cruz, California. To learn more visit or check out his blog and podcast Tales of a Red Clay Rambler at


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