Alex Olson
Alex Olson Arts LLC
Brooklyn, New York

Artist Statement
In my work, I explore concepts of mark-making and imprinting through both process and form: found objects from the landscape make physical marks in the clay, leaving imprints of place on my pottery.

Studio Description
Atmospheric firing methods such as woodfiring add complexity to my faceted surfaces, creating gradients of color and texture that mimic patterns in nature; I also use this effect to reference the cycles and transitions of the natural world.

What type of clay do you use?
B-mix, Stoneware, Porcelain

What temperature do you fire to?
Woodfired cone 10 reduction. I also fire in gas and electric kilns.

What is your primary forming method?
I throw my pots on the wheel, and then facet them using a carving bow and a fettling knife.

What is your favorite surface treatment?
Faceting & Texturing (I press found natural objects into semi-soft clay.)

Do you make any of your own tools?
Sometimes I make my own wooden ribs, and I frequently use objects from the natural landscape as tools.

What one word would you use to describe your work?

What is your favorite thing about your studio?
The tall ceilings and abundance of natural light

What is the one thing in your studio you can’t live without?
A great window with a view

What are your top three studio wishes?
Natural Light
Soft Clay

What’s on your current reading list?
The Artist’s Way – Julia Cameron
Essentialism – Cal Newport
All We Can Save – Johnson & Wilkinson

How do you save money on materials and supplies?
I reclaim my clay and glazes in buckets, and often use found materials from the landscape.

How do you recharge creatively?
Walking, running, and biking.
Paying attention to the rhythms and cycles of the natural landscape.
Quality time with loved ones. Quiet. Stillness.

Do you have any DIY tips for studio efficiency?
Create prioritized to do lists (I use the app Asana)
Have multiple pieces in-process so you can vary what you do throughout the day. This will help avoid injuries!

What challenges have you given yourself to overcome?

What ceramic superpower would you have and why?
The ability to snap my fingers to transform reclaimed clay into soft, air-bubble-free clay that’s ready to throw—this would save much time and energy!

Who is your ceramic art mentor and why?
Linda Christianson. She is compassionate, curious, full of wonder, attentive, loving, and playful.

What is your studio playlist?
2021 Favorite Artists: HAIM, Harry Styles, Boston, Sylvan Esso, Glass Animals

Why do you create art?
I am curious about how we are transformed by experiences in nature—and how we recall those experiences by collecting art & elements of the landscape.

What is your best studio tip?
Develop good habits around sleep, recovery, food, training, posture, and time management to stay healthy. Art is like a sport, just on a small scale.
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