The votes are in and about 3200 of you voiced your opinions on the Ceramics Monthly Emerging Artists of 2011. But there can only be one winner, and today, I am happy to congratulate Meredith Host for receiving the most votes. I’d also like to congratulate all of the other contenders on the fabulous work you make.
In today’s post, Meredith shares a little more about herself and her work. Plus she tells us what she plans to do with her $500 gift certificate to Bailey Ceramic Supplies, who graciously sponsored the contest!! Also, it just so happens that I filmed Meredith demonstrating a couple months back at a Potters Council workshop. We’ll put the finishing touches on that video and share it with you on Friday! Stay tuned! – Jennifer Harnetty, editor.
Tell us a little about yourself?
How are your forms made?
The work is thrown cone 6 porcelain, and most of the color and pattern is applied before the bisque firing. My surfaces are decorated with multiple layers of brightly colored underglazes, using paper stenciling and thermofax screen-printing processes (Note: Meredith demonstrates in the Potters Council video, which will air on CAD on Friday). After the glaze firing, I apply one last iron oxide decal layer for a final firing. The neutral white background of the porcelain and reddish brown of the iron oxide decals help balance the saturated colors.
How do your surfaces inform the way you design your forms?
My forms are deliberately minimal to contrast my “more is more” approach to surface decoration. Functionality, ease of use, and clean simple silhouettes play a key role in my aesthetic.
How important is it to you that folks who use or look at your work understand that your surface patterns come from the “invisible and ubiquitous” patterns of quilted paper products?
I don’t think it’s necessary for the viewer/user to know that these surface designs are gleaned from paper towel and toilet paper patterns in order to enjoy my work. The patterns I use have a familiarity because of their occurrence in the paper products we use daily. We use them to aid us in making food, cleaning up after preparing food, and during the expulsion of food after consumption.
I enjoy the idea of unsuspecting customers using my work. If one decides to delve into my work a bit more, they will discover another layer of information. Companies choose these patterns because of their connotations of domesticity and nostalgia. For example, these types of patterns are used in antique quilts as well as the pierced tin sides of a pie safe. Ultimately, this history plays into the sense of comfort and home associated with these patterns.
What do you plan to do with your prize?
The gift certificate will happily go toward purchasing a much needed test kiln! I have a larger electric kiln and I’m a bit obsessive about firing FULL kiln loads. After glaze or decal firings, there are usually a few pieces that need to be fired again. Instead of having to wait an entire kiln cycle to get the refires in or new tests, I will be able to get them through in the smaller kiln.