Community Interviews

Artist Spotlight: Kat Wheeler

Kat Wheeler is a potter from Knoxville, Tennessee. In 2008, she received her BFA in Ceramics from the Appalachian Center for Crafts at Tennessee Tech University. While working towards her degree, Wheeler worked part-time for two established studio potters, Peter Rose and Judy Brater. Under their guidance, she helped fire the wood kiln and maintain the studio while learning studio practice and production techniques. 

Artist Spotlight: Brett Freund, McKnight Artist Fellow

Brett Freund’s work incorporates color, sketching, and repetition. He intuitively constructs from slip cast parts. The result is a single product that communicates preciousness, but is manipulated with a chaotic energy. Although he essentially uses prototypes and reproducible parts, he creates decorative objects with personal, interior spaces.

Freund is a 2018 recipient of the McKnight Artist Fellowship for Ceramic Artists and NCC is proud to be part of his professional and creative journey.

Artist Spotlight: Bryan Czibesz, McKnight Artist Resident

“I am at heart a tinkerer, and regularly working with my hands is at the core of how I engage with the world.”

Bryan Czibesz came to NCC’s McKnight Artist Residency for Ceramic Artists from the Hudson Valley, where he teaches at the State University of New York at New Paltz. Grounded in the tradition of object making, he asks questions of authorship and authenticity through varying degrees of engagement and dislocation between the hand and material manipulation. 

Artist Spotlight: Melissa Mencini

It really is the rare bird who can traipse back and forth between the world of sculpture and functional pottery with ease. Perhaps therein lies the misconception, “ease” plays no part in it. Rather a dedication to content and artisanship are the constant companion to a maker who keeps every tool sharpened and at the ready to explore and express and create as needed when needed. These are the makers we can rely upon as keepers of the craft. Melissa Menicini is such a maker.

It’s hot! It’s fast! It’s FLASHY!

It’s Raku, an ancient Japanese tradition modified over centuries and across borders to become something of a standard experience for entry level ceramic students. Raku has borne the critical rebuke familiar to other flashy finishes across various industries, think about ruffles, velvet, red lipstick, sequins, or glitter. However, in the right hands, Raku surfaces celebrate the alchemy of carbon and mineral, reflecting all the colors of nature.

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