“My years practicing ceramics in Japan molded the maker that I am today,” says L.A.-based Jen Kuroki. “I was able to develop my whimsical style, incorporating the vernacular of contemporary visual culture with a sense of tradition.” Kuroki hopes her pieces, including the adorable “beasties,” as she calls her animalistic cups and vases, are not perceived as precious. “They’re utilitarian,” she says. “They don’t like cupboards.”
The alchemy of ceramics is particularly vivid, says Tatiana Hunter: “White heat transforms wet, gooey mud into gilded stoneware.” A one-time professional cellist who lives south of Santa Fe, NM, Hunter infuses her pieces, many finished with 23-karat gold and platinum, with a bold beauty. “I work alone,” she says, “with classical music blasting and CNN blinking, surrounded by poster-size pictures of my children and a bulletin board that proclaims Fearless Joy.”
“I’m making ceramics that are obsessed with architecture,” says Ben Medansky, who previously worked with Silly Putty and polymers. “An arch is also a bowl upside down, which I took for my logo.” Matisse’s later paintings have also influenced Medansky, who lives in the Silver Lake area of L.A. “In the studio,” he says, “I try to channel an abstract expressionistic tactic.”
Graphic & Novel
Santa Barbara, CA-based Rebekah Miles explored ceramics in an effort to make her painting functional and sculptural. Using rough and smooth surfaces, she decorates many of her pieces with renderings of flowers (banksias, ceanothuses) that go beyond the obvious. Others are inspired by international product labels with predigital graphics. “I love putting my personal touch on the age-old artisanal craft of shaping basic forms from slabs, molds, and templates,” she says.