Beautiful art should be part of everyday life and not just something hanging over the couch. Art nourishes our spirit the way food nourishes our body. That’s what makes functional pottery so special; it combines the two. Pottery is part of our rituals: the start of the day with a morning beverage, or special occasions around the dinner table.
Ken’s pots are made, using a technique (called sgraffito) that is similar to relief printmaking. Unlike printmaking, there are no copies. Each piece has to be individually carved by hand. The time consuming process requires a special touch, because the clay is still unfired and extremely fragile.
Ken’s latest pots are made from porcelain, the finest of clays. It’s able to be thin and translucent, while still being strong and durable. They are made with non toxic materials, and are safe to use with food. These are unique and one-of-a-kind, so treat them the way you would the rest of your fine china. Use caution with microwaves or dishwashers.
I love jumping between and mixing mediums. I’ve recently been working in clay–after a long break.
I’ve been decorating with a technique, called sgraffito, where I scratch the design into the pottery before firing.
Here’s what sgraffito pots look like after the first fire. I love the contrast between the red and white clays.
As a printmaker, I have been curious about printing on pots. With the encouragement of a fellow artist/potter, I tried to print decals to apply to clay. After MUCH experimenting, I learned that relief printing does not give a thick enough layer of glaze, so I am taking my woodcuts and linocuts, and using them to make screens for screen printing
My only experience with photo transfer screen printing was a few years ago, when I took a workshop in Oaxaca, MX with artist, Marcos Lucero. In the workshop, we used the sun to expose the screen. It’s still taking some trial and error, but I am learning how to get a good exposure. Kentucky sun is different from Mexico sun–we have clouds!!
Once I master the screen print part of the process (i love learning new things) It’ll be time for a NEW thing to learn: how to print using glaze, and then transfer the designs to clay.
Of course , it’s also possible to PAINT on clay–as long as it isn’t being used for food. These critters are almost finished. I LOVE painting on clay. It reminds me of canvas painting, but the textures and shapes of clay give it a 3rd dimension
remember those sgraffito pots at the beginning of this post? Last night, i glazed them, and they are in the kiln cooling. We are going to open the kiln this evening, so stay tuned it’ll be exciting to see my first batch of pots…of course, the first batch is usually when I learn a lot of lessons, so hopefully the kiln gods are not too cruel.
A few weeks ago, a friend gave me a book about transferring images into clay. As a printmaker, and ex potter, i was interested. Shortly after, they sent me ANOTHER book about printing on clay. Aat that point, i decided it was time to dust off my pottery equipment and make some things to try printing on.
I thought it would be fun to hand build some of the characters from my prints and paintings.
I have not thrown any pots, other than for the occasional empty bowls fundraiser, since 2007. And was curious if i remembered how to throw a pot on the wheel.
I did remember!!! Its like riding a bike!!!
Stay tuned! I hope to print and transfer some of my woodcuts onto these pots. Should be interesting!
I like switching between different media from time to time. Each media has it’s own strengths and weaknesses, and the change in perspective keeps it interesting for me.
It’s been awhile since I’ve worked in clay, so I thought I would try to create some painting/tile type characters in clay. My idea is to paint them once they are fired, so the finished piece will be a hybrid painting/sculpture.
One thing I love about clay is the textures…of my tools, my fingers, of the clay itself. It should be a really intersting surface to paint!
It’s also fun to ‘build’ something, vs, draw/paint. I find myself using both hands when I work in clay.
If you are in a creative rut, maybe it’s time to try something different?!? Works for me every time!
it’s been 10 years since I’ve thrown a pot. I wondered if it is like riding a bike. will I remember how to do it? we are having an #emptybowls fundraiser for the food bank in our community next month, so i gave it a try. my first attempt passed for a bowl!
I made a short video of Old Washington’s recent: Arts of all sorts. The video was LIVE, so it’s a little bit shaky and I did do any editing, but it takes you into the moment of visiting our little village during an art activity. I’m so lucky to be a part of such a creative community. Thanks everyone for making it possible!
If you don’t have the time to watch the whole video, here are a few photos of the video’s highlights.
I love art-based community projects, and ‘Empty Bowls‘ is one of my favorite! I don’t make pottery or soup, so my contribution to fight hunger is this small oil painting; which will be raffled off tomorrow at Maysville’s Empty Bowls dinner.
Join My Email Newsletter!
for occasional news, sneak peeks and opportunities for first 'dibs'
on new original artwork
Ken is a self-taught artist from rural Kentucky, whose work includes painting, printmaking, and pottery. He considers himself to be a 'lifetime learner' and he uses art as the vehicle to explore and learn more about the world around him. Much of his work reflect his optimistic views on rural folk culture, river life and simple pleasures.
You can visit Ken every Final Friday of the month at studio 400 at the Pendleton Art Center in downtown Cincinnati or by appointment.