Vivian Beer is a furniture designer/maker based in New England. Her sleek, abstracted metal and concrete furniture combines the aesthetic sensibilities of contemporary design, craft, and sculpture to create objects that alter viewers’ expectations of and interface with the domestic landscape. With a strong foundation in contemporary furniture design, her research into the history of American industry, architecture, and transportation adds intellectual rigor and specificity to her work. Her Infrastructure, Streamline and Anchored Candy series are physical manifestations of the cultural and industrial history of her materials even as they serve as intellectual bridges for their users, bringing them to a new way of conceiving the built world through a luxurious deployment of the senses.
Her work is included in the collections of the Smithsonian American Art Museum, MFA Boston, Brooklyn Museum of Art, Museum of Arts and Design and the cities of Portland ME, Arlington VA and Cambridge MA. She holds an MFA from Cranbrook Academy and received their 2016 Alumni Achievement Award. Beer has won numerous awards and residencies including the John D. Mineck Furniture Fellowship, Penland School of Crafts Residency, Wingate Artist Residency, Museum of Glass, Pilchuck and a Research Fellowship at the Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum.
Lauren Fensterstock creates elaborate sculptures and installations that explore the evolving history of our relationship to nature. By merging contradictory historic perspectives – spanning the Picturesque, the Baroque, Minimalism, and Earth Work – she reveals the cultural roots of our concept of nature. These intricate artworks are constructed in the material of ladies’ accomplishments, such as quilled paper and shell work, emphasizing the capacity of traditional female crafts to reflect on the complexities of the world beyond the domestic sphere. Lauren’s work has been the subject of major solo exhibitions at The John Michael Kohler Art Center, The Bowdoin College Museum of Art, Drexel University, and will be presented in an upcoming solo project at MOCA Jacksonville in 2017. Her work is represented by Claire Oliver Gallery in New York.
Outside the studio, Lauren has taught, lectured, and critiqued around the country, most recently at the Rhode Island School of Design and Virginia Commonwealth University. She previously served as Academic Program Director of the Interdisciplinary MFA in Studio Arts at Maine College of Art and as Director of the Institute of Contemporary Art at Maine College of Art. Lauren holds degrees from the Parsons School of Design (BFA 1997) and SUNY New Paltz (MFA 2000).
Anna Hepler is a sculptor based in Eastport, Maine. Her work, which is both hand-held and architectural in scale, overturns first impressions – wire forms flatten into drawings, clay impersonates metal, plywood coils like rope, plastic inhales and exhales. Hepler values embarrassment, uncertainty, blunder, and fragility as active agents in her studio process.
“In preferring a path of unknowns, I choose purpose over craft, awkwardness over expertise, and improvisation over procedure. I am working to loosen knots of assumption and forfeit some of my authority.”
Somebody told me I would die before I BE something,
Most likely to fry before I Free something,
Most likely to sigh before I See something.
I’m not the one that’s gonna tell you how you should feel,
You may not know my pain but you understand how the sutures feel,
Because when it rains you understand how a roof would feel.
I was born in the Kensington neighborhood of Philadelphia. I was my mother’s third child at the age of 21. Being raised in the 80’s in Philadelphia I was exposed to prevalent drug use and gang activity. The crack epidemic left half of the houses in my neighborhood abandoned. This neighborhood gave very little hope for a future outside of its boundaries. My parents were the first generation of my family to raise their children in the United States.
In an effort to seek the best job he could, my father would drive his bike from Kensington to Cherry Hill, New Jersey every morning. When I sit at a potter’s wheel, I often think of my father’s bike tire spinning, and this metaphor has always had me reach for more. If he could make that sacrifice for my future, it is up to me to make something of it.
Born in Brooklyn, New York, Annabeth Rosen received her BFA from NYS State College of Ceramics at Alfred University and her MFA from Cranbrook Academy of Art. After graduate school, Rosen taught at School of the Art Institute of Chicago, Rhode Island School of Design, Tyler School of Art and Bennington College, while participating in residencies, at the Bemis project in Omaha, Watershed in Maine and The Fabric Workshop and Museum, and the Borofsky Center in Philadelphia. Presently she teaches at University of California Davis holding the Robert Arneson Endowed Chair.
Rosen has received multiple grants and awards, a Pew Fellowship, two National Endowment for the Arts Fellowships, and a number of UC Davis Research Grants, and most recently a Joan Mitchell Painters and Sculptors Award. Rosen’s work is the collection of the The Boston Museum of Fine Art, The Oakland Museum, The Denver Art Museum, The Philadelphia Museum of Art, and many public and private collections. She shows her work with Gallery Paule Anglim in San Francisco. Her work has been exhibited around the world, in venues including Taipei, Kyoto, Seoul, Mallorca, London, and Glasgow.
Piper Shepard’s artistic practice is as an engagement with cloth where she seeks to remove in order to reveal. Over the past sixteen years, she has cut cloth into lace-like filigree patterns, sometimes regimented in structure and other times according to a process akin to freehand drawing. Her process is informed equally by the qualities of the cloth—among them, the physical tolerance of the material itself—and the rich domain where that specimen intersects with its own place in history and memory.
Shepard’s work represents an intimate journey through the magnitude of textile, a meditation informed by the structure and architecture of cloth itself.
Shepard’s work has been shown at the Museum of Arts and Design in New York City; the Baltimore Museum of Art; the John Michael Kohler Arts Center, Sheboygan, WI; the Snyderman-Works Gallery, Philadelphia, PA; and the Birmingham Museums and Art Gallery in Birmingham, UK. She has received four Individual Artists Awards from The Maryland State Arts Council in Crafts. She recently received a 2016 Japan-US Friendship Commission, National Endowment for the Arts, Creative Arts Exchange Program Fellowship. Her work is in the collections of the Baltimore Museum of Art and The Museum of Arts and Design, New York. Since 1994, she has taught in the Fiber Department at MICA (Maryland Institute College of Art).
Port Townsend, WA
April Surgent started working with glass in 1997, at open access hot shop studios in her hometown of Seattle, WA. She went on to study at the Australian National University, Canberra, Australia where she graduated with an honors degree in 2004. In 2003, she changed her focus from blown to engraved glass after studying under Czech master engraver Jiri Harcuba at the Pilchuck glass school; she has served as a trustee to the school since 2012. Recognition for her work includes the Neddy Fellowship through the Behnke Foundation and an Urban Glass, New Talent Award. Notable collections where her work can be found: the Toledo Museum of Art [OH], the Chrysler Museum of Art [VA] and the Ulster Museum [IRL] among others.
Interested in the dialogue between art and science, the artist is presently engaged in collaborations with research scientists to inform her work; focusing on remote conservation fieldwork and the effects of anthropogenic factors on vulnerable species and ecosystems. In 2013, the artist travelled to Antarctica with the National Science Foundation’s, Antarctic Artist and Writers Program. She is currently working with NOAA’s Hawaiian Monk Seal Research Program. The artist lives and works in Port Townsend, WA.
Cristina Córdova received a Bachelor of Arts from the University of Puerto Rico in Mayagüez and continued to earn a Master of Fine Arts in Ceramics from the New York State College of Ceramics at Alfred University. Upon graduation in 2002 she entered a three year artists residency program at Penland School of Crafts where she later served in the board of trustees from 2006 to 2010. Some recognitions include an American Crafts Council Emerging Artist Grant,a North Carolina Arts Council Fellowship ,a Virginia Groot Foundation Recognition Grant and several International Association of Art Critics Awards. Cristina has taught at Penland School of Crafts (NC), Haystack Mountain School (ME), Santa Fe Clay (NM), Mudfire (GA) ,Odyssey Center for Ceramics (NC) and Anderson Ranch (CO) ,among others. In 2011 she founded TravelArte (travel-arte.com), an ongoing platform that provides educational experiences within the ceramics medium while immersing students in the creative culture of a particular geographical setting. Her work is part of the permanent collections of the Renwick Gallery of the Smithsonian American Art Museum (Washington , D.C.), the Fuller Craft Museum, (MA), the Mint Museum of Craft and Design (NC), the Museum of Contemporary Art of Puerto Rico( PR), the Museum of Art of Puerto Rico (PR), and the Joseph-Schein Museum in NY. She currently lives and works in Penland, NC.
Mark Hewitt has been making distinctive functional pottery in North Carolina since 1983. He spliced what he learned in his native England as an apprentice to pioneering potter, Michael Cardew, onto the pottery traditions of North Carolina and the South, bending those traditions into an elegant contemporary style. He uses local clays and glaze materials, and fires his pots in a large wood-burning kiln.
Mark works with apprentices, conveying production skills and aesthetic qualities to a new generation. Several of his former apprentices have gone on to establish their own successful independent careers.
In addition, his recent work reassesses aspects of the industrial ceramic world into which he was born – his father and grandfather were Directors of Spode, the fine china manufacturer.
He was the 2014 Voulkos Fellow at the Archie Bray Institute in Helena, MT, a finalist for the 2015 American Craft Council/Balvenie Rare Craft Award, and is current President of the North Carolina Pottery Center, in Seagrove, NC.
Ayumi Horie is a full-time studio potter in Portland, Maine who makes functional pottery with drawings of animals and typography, inspired by American and Japanese folk traditions and comics. She often works collaboratively on projects and regards working online as a second studio practice. She runs Pots In Action, a curatorial project on Instagram that features international ceramics and guest hosts from all over the world. She is currently working on a collaborative public art project, Portland Brick, that repairs city sidewalks with bricks made from local clay stamped with past, contemporary, and future memories of Portland. In 2009, she collaborated on a tile mapping project of Greenwich Village, which included the ecology of Manhattan in 1609. In 2011, she was the first recipient of Ceramics Monthly’s Ceramic Artist of the Year award. Ayumi travels nationally and internationally to give lectures and workshops on social media and ceramics and has organized multiple online fundraisers including Obamaware in 2008 and Handmade For Japan in 2011, which has raised over $100,000 for disaster relief. She has served on multiple boards including that of the Archie Bray Foundation and currently the American Craft Council and accessCeramics.org.