Ben Blackwood grew up on the move until he finally settled into his family’s hometown of Bozeman, Montana where he has stayed throughout his adult life. Several years of pouring concrete for a living inspired him to return to school at Montana State University where he earned his BFA in Ceramics in 2019. His time at MSU sparked a passion for woodfiring and an interest in the physical and chemical properties of Montana’s local clays. This has allowed him to make work that satiates his cravings to labor and create, while also satisfying his urges to engage with the secluded wilderness of Montana.
My work seeks a balance between the rugged nature of raw clay, the physicality of process, and the subtle elegance of human touch. Working near the edge of loss of control, I pursue the point where the clay begins to give in to the laws of physics, and my will is no longer the only governing factor. This way of making requires a firing style with the same physical commitment, the same balance between rough and elegant, and flirtation with failure. This is why I wood fire, it allows me to approach the firing process with the same mindset that guides my interaction with wet clay. I can enhance my work with the palette I have developed from the reactions that occur between Montana’s iron-rich clays, white kaolins, and pine and cottonwood within the volatile atmosphere of the kiln. The result is obviously handmade, unquestionably wood fired vessels that are honest with regards to process and materiality.
Lane is a utilitarian potter influenced by the natural world. Starting out as a painter and illustrator, she transitioned into clay after being hooked by her first class. Lane obtained a BFA in ceramics in 2017 from the University of Arkansas at Little Rock. After graduating, she moved to Rochester, NY for a two-year residency at the Flower City Arts Center. Lane plans to continue her ceramic growth at the Clay Studio of Missoula stating in the fall of 2019.
Touch is powerful. It can be used as a source of communication and conveyer of emotion. I believe we crave intimacy and connection to the world, which I strive to achieve with my pottery. I explore the intimacy between object, user, and their natural surroundings through the interaction of function, form, and surface design. By bringing into play living organisms, I’m interested in their life cycles, their symbiotic relationships, their role within the ecosystem, and the parallels of these concepts found within human life.
I illustrate handmade utilitarian vessels not only to comment on humans’ relationships with objects, but also the relationships between humans and the natural world.
My illustrations speak to the beauty of the “small world” and their importance within our ecosystem. I direct viewers to see the disgust amongst the beautiful, to see the disgusting as beautiful.
After earning a B.F.A. from Montana State University in 2015, Christine moved back to her hometown of Helena, MT to pursue her love of wood firing where she was a studio assistant for Tara Wilson. From 2017-18, Christine was a post baccalaureate student at Utah State University, and recently has delved into the world of functional low-fired ceramics.
Christine believes that our precious, most beautiful objects should be everyday objects and is dedicated to making comfortable, well-crafted pots for the home.
Elisha received and BFA in ceramics from the University of Montana in May of 2015. In 2016, she continued her education in ceramics by completing a short term residency at Red Lodge Clay Center, a studio assistantship at Arrowmont School of Arts and Craft, and a short term residency at the Clay Studio of Missoula. She is currently teaching art at in her own business, Mud Bunneh Ceramics, and also works with after school programs with elementary and middle school children.
The work that I am most passionate about focuses on depictions of children and animals. In this work, I address the social issues of child abuse by juxtaposing the quiet brutality of abuse against the perceived, inherent innocence of children. The familiarity of the narrative context challenges the viewer, creating an unsettling relationship between the audience and the figures. The space between the viewer and figure directly challenges the silence about such issues and, hopefully, calls attention to the myriad of societal issues that we tend to not acknowledge in our daily lives.
Andrew has a BFA from the University of Minnesota
Duluth. He aims to capture values from his Mexican heritage in his wares, including everyday rituals, connections, and relationships. He sees the interactions between user and vessel as an opportunity to reflect on interpersonal connections.
From 2017-18, Andrew participated in the Minnesota New Institute for Ceramic Education (MN NICE) program at Northern Clay Center, where he also was a Sales Gallery, Education, and Exhibition Associate.