Ferrin Gallery presents MULTIPLES – Art/Design, a group exhibition of ceramics designed and produced using industrial processes. The show opens to the public on May 20th and runs through June 20th.
Multiples is an exhibition presenting a survey of ceramics designed and produced using industrial processes and techniques. Included will be a range of items, from functional pottery and selections from popular dinnerware lines to decorative objects. All works are designed by artists and mass produced in their studio, factories, or at the hands of other artisans. Donald Clark, Ferrin Gallery co-owner and Multiples curator says, "the studio pottery tradition rests on the use of a simple machine: the potter's wheel. It is common today for potters to have helpers in their studios who do various parts of the process. In this exhibition I wanted to show work that explores the use of machines beyond the potter's wheel and push the boundaries of production." With a focus on artistic quality and integrity, each potter or designer pushes production by using technologies that increase efficiency, support a globalized market and allow for sustainable business operation, while maintaining high standards of craftsmanship.
Jonathan Adler, New York, NY
Bauer Pottery, Los Angeles, CA
Circa Ceramics, Chicago, IL
KleinReid, Long Island City, NY
Middle Kingdom Porcelain, Washington DC
Frances Palmer, Weston, CT
Jill Rosenwald, Boston, MA
Laura Zindel, Guilford, VT
Bo Jia of Middle Kingdom Porcelain and Jonathan Adler, both artists with training and experience behind the wheel as potters, outsource their designs to various locations for production. Adler, who became overwhelmed with the amount of work he needed to produce on his own, enlisted the help of Aid to Artisans (www.aidtoartisans.org), which is a nonprofit organization that connects artists in the US to artisans in developing countries. In this instance, Adler was connected to a small clay studio in Peru.
Jia, born and raised in China, and his wife Alison live in Washington DC where they design Middle Kingdom Porcelain products. In 1996 the couple founded a porcelain studio in Jingdezhen, China where the finished designs are created by master potters. "Each craftsman specializes in one step of the process: from preparing the clay to forming, trimming, glazing or painting, carving, loading the kiln and firing," they explain. The pair maintains a close relationship with the artists who operate their studio, thus they are never far removed from the production process.
Jill Rosenwald is another artist who is involved in every step of the process. Donald Clark describes Rosenwald as "a designer with an understanding of, and interest in, functional ceramic forms who sought a way to get her images on the surfaces of functional pottery. Not a potter herself, Jill found potters who could throw the forms she had drawn on paper. Today, all the pieces are thrown by a skilled potter working to Rosenwald's specifications in her Boston studio."
Bauer Pottery, on the other hand, is a production company that creates objects designed by other artists, primarily from the 1930's and '40's. Bauer reinterprets the designs of J.A. Bauer, the work originally produced by the company, to create contemporary yet vintage-inspired ceramics. It has also added Russell Wright's 1937 design American Modern™ to its production repertoire, thereby rekindling the 60 plus year relationship with the late influential designer. It is Wright's work that will be included in this exhibition and will be shown in new bright colors which are reinterpretations of his original designs.
James Klein and David Reid are the partners and founders of KleinReid, a ceramics studio based in New York City that focuses on "merging industrial techniques and artisanal quality". In addition to creating and selling their own designs, they continue to sustain their ten year collaboration with famed centenarian designer Eva Zeisel. Works from both series' are on view here. As James Klein explains, "We want to be the invisible hand that created the thing and, to this end, molds are useful partners."
Frances Palmer, Laura Zindel, and Andy Witt and Nancy Pizarro of Circa Ceramics are artists who design, create, mass produce and market their own ceramic-ware. Although each studio works with different techniques and styles, they all have complete control over their creative process. Weston, Connecticut based potter Frances Palmer creates shaped tableware and accessories. Palmer offers both custom works, which she throws by hand in her studio one at a time for private clients, and the Frances Palmer Pearl Collection™, a line cast from her handmade molds by Niagara Ceramics.
Laura Zindel is an artist and designer who combines her passion for ceramics and naturalist illustration with unique housewares and objets d'art. Her work integrates techniques from the Arts and Crafts movement with modern industrial design practices. Zindel and her husband, Thorsten Lauterbach, create fine ceramics and other items from a converted barn of the Partridge House, a 1778 farmhouse located in Southern Vermont.
The colorful decaled ceramics found on Etsy and in craft shows across the county come from Circa Ceramics, a studio team of Andy Witt and Nancy Pizarro who are based in Chicago's north side. Operating for more than 10 years, the duo uses porcelain, color, and screen printing designs to make their fun lines of both functional and decorative objects. "For us, what keeps all this exciting is that we have been given a tiny glimpse of what the tableware industry is like," they observe. "And this industry, much like the fashion industry, has trained people's perception of what pottery should and shouldn't be. It is through the use of industrial processes that we can enter into this world and play upon these perceptions."
For more on this topic:
DONALD CLARK: The Industry of Making Pots, Ceramics Monthly
Image: Circa Ceramics studio, Stella Loella for etsy.com