Contemporary Figurative Ceramics

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One with Nature, Hand-built, multiple-fired terra cotta w/ oxide washes, underglaze, slips.

“I began working with clay in 2003 and soon found myself with an intense interest in figurative sculpture. Using earthenware, I am striving to make representations of our human experience: beauty and spirit through color and form. My inspirations are folk, AmericanSouthern, African and spiritual beings - usually set in a place of joy, peace and hope. All of my sculptures are handbuilt and multiple-fired with oxide washes, underglaze and slips.” “Originally from Huntsville, Alabama, I am a graduate of Auburn University and have completed post-graduate studies in ceramic sculpture in Asheville, NC, Penland, NC and Santa Fe, NM." Ed is a member of the American Craft Council, Southern Highland Craft Guild, and Piedmont Craftsmen Guild.

Messenger of Peace, Hand-built, multiple-fired terra cotta w/ oxide washes, underglaze, slips.

La Senora Granada, Hand built, multiple-fired terra cotta w/ oxide washes, underglaze, slips.




being that is represented by it. I wish to record the triumph of the human existence as I have observed it in the strong people who have entered my life. Clay allows me the past, and who are witnesses of their history. By incorporating torn clay construction, I am trying to communicate the past of individuals who have had to endure hardship, persecution, and poor health. work. I am not sure that I do. How do I go about my work in which I make frivolous justify my work is to keep careful records of the stories of real individuals. Their names and their places are less important than their courage to stand in the face of fear. They triumph in the streets where they walk, in the markets where they shop and the refugee camps where they rear their children. I have chosen, not out of valor, but necessity to make work that is a testament to the stories of those who have endured hatred. Their courage to speak out against injustice is something I can only strive toward.�

At the End of Her Day, Red earthenware, glaze

Melissa owns Cadell Studios where she works working under her father as an apprentice in his art bronze foundry. She received a BFA in drawing, painting and art education from the University of North Texas. Her fascination with the human form became increasingly evident as she strove for complex simplicity in style and content, as a painter and it houses her subject’s thoughts, beliefs and fears.

At Rest, Red earthenware, casting slips, underglaze, glaze

Debra Fritts

Roswell, GA

“As time and experience embraces me as a sculptor in clay, I feel free of art trends and fashionable art. My expression is basic yet intrigues me daily to continue this exploration of clay and the female figure. Working intuitively from pounds of wet clay, ideas develop and stories appear. These stories dwell on the mysteries and joys of life’s necessities. The search continues until I reach the core: the spiritual level of the sculpture. Then the work can speak. Sometimes combining found objects with the sculpture enhance the visual composition and gives a reference to the past. Each sculpture is hand built, mainly using thick coils, and fired three to seven times depending on the color and surface I am trying to achieve. I approach the color on the clay as a painter. My palette is a combination of oxides, slips, underglazes, and glazes. I mix, I paint, I fire, and I never know exactly the end results.” Debra Fritts is a studio artist working in Roswell, Georgia. She received her undergraduate degree in Art Education from the University of Tennessee, Knoxville and continued graduate studies in ceramic sculpture, painting and printmaking. Debra currently teaches sculpture classes at Art Center West in Roswell, Georgia and conducts master classes and workshops nationally. Debra enjoys national recognition for her work in ceramic sculpture through invitational exhibitions and awards, museum exhibitions, gallery representation, private collections, and publications. Her sculptures were including in “Form and Imagination” Women Ceramic Sculptors at American Museum of Ceramic Art, Pomona, California and at SOFA Chicago and New York regularly. Debra is currently represented by Habatat Gallery Chicago, Ferrin Gallery, Pacini Lubel Gallery, Blue Spiral Gallery, Gallery One, and Fay Gold. Her sculptures are handbuilt, one of a kind, and multiple fired with a painterly glazed surface. The work is a continuous story of life and the mysteries and rituals in daily living.

There is a Season, Hand built, oxides, slip, underglaze and glaze

Night Walker, Hand built, oxides, slips, underglaze and glaze



“A successful work of sculpture creates magic through the language of texture, color and form. The viewer's senses, perceptions and intellect will be challenged and emotions evoked. It is through the viewing and creating of art that we are able to break through psychological barriers thus becoming more connected to our world. As an artist I try very hard to work using everyday visual stimulation and stories or dreams from my life as a reference. I attempt to reach a more subconscious level that will hopefully pass thru my personal journey to the universal core. It is this core that connects us all.” Tinka Jordy has been working as a professional artist for 32 years and her work is exhibited and collected internationally. She received a Bachelor of Arts degree in 1977 after attending Cleveland Institute of Art and the Kansas City Art Institute and has also worked as designer and won numerous awards for product design.

Surrender II, Hand-built Ceramics

Some of the most recent installations of Tinka’s work include a public commission for the city of Oxford Mississippi. She was honored to receive a The piece was sculpted in clay at her studio in bronze was installed August, 2009 in Memorial Park, Oxford Mississippi. She was recently at the North Carolina Botanical Gardens 21st Annual Sculpture Invitational. sculpture ‘Balance’ by giving the work the ‘Best in Show’ award. She freshly had a gallery show at the Carol Robinson Gallery in New Orleans on March 6, 2010. The Carol Robinson Gallery has been representing Tinka's work for 26 years.

Man about Birds, Hand-built ceramics



RUTHERFORDTON, NC “My mixed media figures begin with hand building techniques in stoneware clay. I layer the surface with terra sigillata, slips, underglaze, stains, oxides, glazes, underglaze pencils, and decals - firing each piece three to five times. The work is mostly in pieces after the final firing and is assembled with wood, metal, fiber and found objects. In a body of work there is a common thread of expression and exploration that binds it together. My sculpture addresses our pursuit of Truth (trying to figure out what and how things really are) and the nature of our humanness. Within the structure of the human form lies the possibility to recognize ourselves and the opportunity to contemplate the complexities and contradictions of the world we live in. Visual metaphors such as ladders, tags, nails, and windows express aspiration, experience and epiphany - things that assemble and define a life.

Look, Ceramic, 2007

I am a daughter, a sister, a wife, a mother, a friend, an artist. I am a woman of deep faith. My life and work have been, and continue to be, a spiritual journey. I am intrigued by what we think, do and say, by who we are and how we live - primarily at the soul level.� Nancy graduated with a BFA from Minneapolis College of Art and Design, MN and also attended the Fashion Institute of Technology in New York City.

Dandelion, Ceramic, 2010

Stand Still,Ceramic, 2009

Can You See, Ceramics, 2010



SAN DEIGO, CA “In my work there are purposely no clues as to a culture, society, or period of time because I don’t want to limit the viewer’s imagination. The viewer is free to bring his or her own thinking and references to the pieces. I am interested in the interaction and meaning of the basics… humanity and the earth. These sculptures are fragmented allusions to both the figurative and its environment. The landscape imagery emerges from the body. Fragments of the human figure merge with the twig structure as air, light, and earth. I feel there is more of an impact by fragmenting the figure, imitating life, which is constantly moving and shifting. A fragment is visually on the move since one’s mind is always in the process of filling the voids.

Journey. End, Clay, sticks, wire, paint

Rock formations are of extreme interest to me. Stacked rocks remind me of figures and body parts. I am also fascinated by Southern folk artists whose works are raw and emotion filled, often on the edge. Examples are furniture, animals as well as figurative sculptures made of sticks, roots, etc. Materials include twigs, sticks, license plates, and anything that is at hand. I am fascinated by how a carefully chosen stick, root, rock, and such can suggest an arm, torso, head… The roughness and irregularities suggest real bodies rather than ideal ones. I prefer to use primitive direct techniques that do not hide the identity of the materials I use. The work of Jaye Lawrence has been particularly informed by such diverse influences as classical figurative sculpture and whimsical southern folk art.” Jaye received a BFA from the University of Arizona and her MFA from Arizona State University. She has artwork residing in the Arizona collections of the Yuma Fine Arts Associations in Yuma and the Arizona State University Art Department in Tempe with artwork also in the Pacific Lutheran University Collection in Tacoma, Washington. She was honored in Who’s Who In American Art and Vol XVI California Art Review.

Journey. Midlife, Clay, sticks, wire, paint




“If a picture is worth a thousand words, what are a thousand images worth? I like my surface to be a feast for the eyes and mind. The detail in the decoration is as important as the form. Each sculpture is handbuilt in porcelain with an intense focus on the surface decoration. I think of my work as 3-dimensional paintings. Layered with stains, glazes, silkscreen emulsions, oil crayons, and glass, the surfaces reveal a micro world of imaginary Grooms, inspire me. To me, art is a visual language. The origins of my artistic language emanate from life's experiences, readings of literature and mythology, and visual interpretations of art history. Often this language focuses on the absurdity, the unpredictability and the unruliness of life. Like a classical language, the vocabulary that I create has many layers of meaning. I leave it with the viewers to derive their personal interpretations.”

Carol Gentithes graduated from Duke University with a B.A. in English Literature. In 1989 she was accepted to Alfred University School of Art and Ceramics where she received her B.F.A. cum laude in ceramics. She was a resident artist at the Arrowmont School of Art in Tennessee. She has exhibited in many renowned shows and galleries including the Smithsonain Craft Show in Washington , D.C. , the Palm Beach Fine Craft Show in West Palm Beach , Fl., the Potters Market at the Mint Museum, Charlotte , NC , the Blue Spiral 1 in Asheville, NC , the Sherrie Gallerie in Columbus, Oh and the Lacoste Gallery in Concord, Ma. Carol is best known for her quixotic sculptures. Handbuilt with coils, her often surreal sculptures are satirical and narrative. Abstracting from mythology, literature and life’s observations, Carol’s work is an embodiment of the complex nuances within nature and humankind. Her subject matter ranges anywhere from conceptual ideas to political commentaries. Materials are commercially bought and she works with a computerized kiln so that she can go home at a decent hour. She also exhibits her work in renowned galleries and is published in several books and periodicals.

(Top to bottom, left to right) Trump Towers, Hand built, porcelain, stains, glazes, silkscreen emulsions, oil crayons, and glass Dating for Dummies, Hand built, porcelain, stains, glazes, silkscreen emulsions, oil crayons, and glass Have Stock in Martha, Hand built, porcelain, stains, glazes, silkscreen emulsions, oil crayons, and glass Hilton in Paris, Hand built, porcelain, stains, glazes, silkscreen emulsions, oil crayons, and glass




Alison Palmer is always creating something new. The ideas never seem to run out. Whether it be in earthenware, stoneware, wood, plaster, or even a food recipe, there is always something new just around the corner - usually whimsical, usually colorful, and never without a certain sense of humor. After 30 years in ceramics, she still gets great enjoyment out of the process of creating new pieces. From the original idea through the technical processes which involve making the molds to her most favorite part working with color, Alison is always thinking ahead and always using her artist’s vision to constantly explore and interpret. Alison Palmer was born and raised in New York. After graduating high school she attended Kansas City Art Institute as well as the California College of Arts and Crafts where she received her BFA in ceramics. By 1986, Alison was exhibiting her work at a few of the finer craft galleries in New York City and elsewhere. Today, Alison Palmer can boast representation by over a thousand galleries, museum shops and catalogs in America and abroad.

Ms. Kittty Goes to School, Wood-fired stoneware, thrown and altered with slips, glazes.

Girl with Pigtails, Wood-fired stoneware, thrown and altered with slips,glazes.



“As a native of New York City, one of my earliest realizations was that we are one of many. My approach each new piece I draw upon a limitless resource of characters encountered. Often, the end results are compilations of traits or features from persons with whom I’ve crossed paths; sometimes real, sometimes imagined, and sometimes I’m unsure.

Spanish American culture. In particular, the articulated Santos doll continually triggers ideas for future work. I am especially drawn to the craftsmen’s term of Santero, which loosely translated means Saint Maker and I’mfascinated by what the title implies.

Three of a Kind, Hand-built clay, ceramic stains,

be locked in, overnight, at the Girard Wing of Santa Fe’s Museum of International Folk Art, I‘d be thrilled), genre, I knew I found an appropriate two word description for my work), and Dolls (historical, contemporary, paper, hand sewn, voodoo, sculpted, and all others).

Red State, Blue State

Hand-built clay components, ceramic stains, underglazes, found objects

Collecting, gathering, and repurposing is a favorite pastime It was therefore natural and predetermined that I would incorporate found objects with my

condition and draws upon the Santos doll inspiration. Each wears a piece of unexpected paraphernalia meant to accentuate how far we humans will go to be perceived as individuals--when in fact, I see it as us being one of many. Joan is currently represented by the Newbill Collection in Seaside, Florida and Carolina Clay Gallery, St. John's Island, South Carolina. She is a member of the Piedmont Craftsmen Guild, Winston-Salem, North Carolina and was recently in the 2 Person Show “One Of A Kind” The River Gallery, Chattanooga, Tennessee.


Hand-built clay components, ceramic stains, underglazes, found objects.


Hand-built clay components, ceramic stains, underglazes, found objects.




“Recently, someone described my work as “delightfully demented”. It was the nicest thing anyone has ever said about me. I combine humor, the bizarre and the universal experiences of life in my sculpture. After doing art shows for many years, I learned I must capture the attention of the viewer in a few seconds and state my case. On closer inspection there are subtle details that balance the piece.

Pygmalion, Earthenware , acrylics

I employ a unique clay construction technique in fabric “pillow” that I sew. Depending on a sculptures complexity, I can use as many as ten of these pillow forms. This technique allows me to make hollow works that are relatively light-weight for their size. When the clay dries enough to support its weight, I cut open the piece, remove the pillows so they can be used again,

Motherhood, Earthenware Clay, acrylics, colored pencils

My work is painted with acrylics. I love the dry matte access to color that paint gives me. Also working with incorporate mixed media components. I’ve been fascinated with clay since childhood. I was born in San Antonio, Texas, grew up in Kansas City, Missouri and moved to Greenville, North Carolina in 1986.

Missouri State University, but got discouraged, dropped out and worked a couple of years. I later enrolled at the University of Missouri/Columbia where I majored in Horticulture. It was at MU that I discovered the Craft Studio. This wonderful facility allowed students, regardless of their major, to work in several areas of crafts at their own pace. There I began my real journey into art. I met many knowledgeable and helpful individuals who gave me the encouragement and knowledge I needed to pursue my art. Since then, my work has undergone many changes. I have gone from traditional methods using slips, underglazes and glazes to what is known as cold

Can’t Be Fixed, Earthenware , acrylics

Sisters, Earthware, acrylics




“Storytelling connects us to one another and explains who we are. In an age in which the individual is often alienated, my work attempts to cut through the isolation by presenting common threads of the human experience. Early in my career, a fine arts degree in theater refined my understanding of imagery and taught me to use gestures as powerful expressive tools. However, it is through figurative ceramics that I am able to fully realize my narrative impulse. While each piece is instantly approachable, closer inspection reveals a world in which the story and inner psyche of the character slowly emerges. The ultimate goal of my work is to create honest depictions of the human quest toward self-revelation and a contemporary identity. Just as we look to our past as a springboard toward a personal vision of the future, I combine found objects and discarded elements from the past with my ceramic work. The mixed media not only creates an intriguing dialogue of materials, but also informs the viewer of the scope of the figure’s journey within each narrative. ”

Stepping Forward, Hand-built porcelain stoneware, underglaze.

Pageantry of the Rat Race, Hand-built porcelain stoneware, underglaze, black stoneware, mixed media: Stingle received her Master of Public Administration from metal. Columbia University, New York, NY and her Bachelor of Fine Arts from Ohio University, Athens, OH. A few of her upcoming shows include: Figurative Invitational. Positioning the Figure. Signature Shop and Gallery, Atlanta, GA, Dual Exhibition. Clay Scot Artworks, Birmingham, AL, and Solo Exhibition. Little Girl Lost. Signature Shop and Gallery, Atlanta, GA. Stingle has participated in several Fine Arts Festivals, including Philadelphia Museum Fine Craft Show, Philadelphia, PA and the Smithsonian Fine Craft Show, Washington, D.C. Bless the Little Beasts, Hand-built porcelain Stingle awards comprise: Third Place in a National Juried stoneware with underglaze, mixed media: metal and fiber. Show, Atlanta Artists Center, Atlanta, GA, Best in Clay, Atlanta Arts Festival, Atlanta, GA, Award of Merit, National Juried Art Exhibition, South Cobb Arts Alliance, Atlanta, GA, Emerging Artist Scholarship, Association for Visual Arts, Four Bridges Arts Festival, Chattanooga, TN, Honorable Mention, Works in Clay, Roswell Visual Arts Center Clay West, Roswell, GA, Second Place in a Juried Show, Atlanta Artists Center, Atlanta, GA. Kirsten Stingle is also published in 500 Ceramic Sculptures, Lark Books, Spring 2009 edition.

Truth Keeper, Hand-built porcelain stoneware with grog, underglaze, slip.


“I grew up listening to stories that were rich in the cultural imagery of the South, which, in retrospect, I perceived to be incredibly surreal but wonderfully believable. It is this background that both inspires my ideas and enables me to translate them into a form of three-dimensional figurative imagism that combines metaphorical apparitions within a literal context. In this translation, as in any translation, some things are inevitably changed, lost or added. For better or for worse, this is part of the process of storytelling. The figures in my work have become characters engaged in their own story -- spinning around an axis of personal, social and cultural idiosyncrasies. They are personal interpretations of various human attributes aimed at striking the harmonics of emotion through allegorical representations.”

Blue Bird Woman, Hand-built earthenware, terra sigilliata, slips, brass, rods, and enamel.

A professor of ceramics, a fly fisherman, a working artist, Tim Taunton is a complete renaissance man. Fueled by a powerful intellect, visible energy and an unyielding vision of the world, Taunton creates figurative clay sculptures that are personal interpretations of various human attributes and natural forces. You cannot view one without seeing a story, open ended though it might be. Taunton also has started painting again, bringing his perfectionism and vision to a two dimensional surface. The paintings place his sculptures in scenes imagined and created. Taunton’s work follows in a long tradition of classical figure work and brings in elements of the best of the surrealists, making his work fresh and vibrant, surreal but believable. Even when the subjects are posed in an uncommon way, they feel familiar, like folks you’d want to know or at least understand. Taunton received his Master of Fine Arts, Ceramics, from Louisiana State University, Baton Rouge, LA and Bachelor of Arts, Ceramics and Painting, from University of Arkansas, Little Rock, AR. Honors and Awards include: Visiting Artist, World Ceramic Biennial Pre-Expo Workshop and Exhibition, Yeo Joo Institute of Technology, Yeo Joo, South Korea, 2000; Georgia Council for the Arts Individual Artist Grant, 1993-1994; Emerging Ceramic Artist, 1986 NCECA Conference, San Antonio, TX. Presented by Joe Bova. Taunton is featured in several Pictorials and Reviews: 600 Figures, The Penland Book of Ceramics, Ceramics Monthly Magazine, and Ceramics Art and Perception. He has been presented in numerous national exhibitions and has lectured at over 75 colleges, art centers, and schools.

Water Music, Hand-built earthenware,

terra sigilliata, slips, brass, rods, and enamel.




“My work gives me permission to stare. We are told not to stare because the act is rude. It might make someone else, the one upon which our gaze is fixed, feel uncomfortable. So we steal glimpses, don’t let our eyes linger too long, pretend not to see, and are encouraged to retreat within ourselves. But the moments when I am compelled to stare, are the moments when I feel most alive. My curiosity, awe, and questioning make me alert. The stare signals an intense engagement with a reality outside of myself. Other people are compelling subjects and objects of contemplation because we will never be in their heads as completely as we are in our own. Despite the fact that, fundamentally, people are essentially the same, this lack of direct access to interiority makes others a perpetual mystery. It cloaks every interaction in uncertainty and ambiguity. But it is exactly that mystery, uncertainty, and ambiguity that make the inquiry worth returning to. And it is such complexity of understanding that I strive to infuse into my work. My sculptures do not provide answers or assertions, but embrace uncertainty through the provocation of more questions. The figures are permanently frozen mid-gesture in a moment that encourages the generation of ambiguous narratives. Stripped from the context of previous actions, the figures’ personalities, motives, intentions are malleable and unfixed in the viewers’ minds. Who they are is in a state of flux dependent on the stories viewers create.” Christina West received her MFA from the New York State College of Ceramics at Alfred University in 2006 and her BFA from Siena Heights University in Adrian, MI in 2003. She was an artist-in-residence at the Archie Bray Foundation for Ceramic Arts from 2006-07, where she was awarded the Lilian Fellowship. Additionally, her work has been supported by a grants and fellowships from the New York Foundation for the Arts, the George Sugarman Foundation, and the Mary L. Nohl Artist Fund. During the summer of 2010 Christina will be an artist-in-residence at the Bemis Center for Contemporary Art in Omaha, NE. Christina shows her work regularly across the country and has participated in numerous invitational exhibitions at venues such as The Arizona State University Art Museum Ceramic Research Center in Tempe, AZ; The Schein-Joseph International Museum of Art, Alfred, NY; The Clay Studio, Philadelphia, PA; Santa Fe Clay, NM; The Turman-Larison Gallery, MT; and Harvey Meadows Gallery, Aspen, Co. Her work is represented by Pacini Lubel Gallery in Seattle, WA.

Draw, Ceramics., paint, graphite, plywood

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