Ryan McKerleyAustin, Texas


I started making pots while I was an art student at Abilene Christian University in West Texas. After receiving my BFA I moved to Austin in 1995 and began an apprenticeship with Billy Ray Mangham. As my apprenticeship continued I developed my own style, taught children and adults and began building my own kilns. Today I divide my time between my ceramic studio tech duties at the Dougherty Arts Center, organizing the Art of the Pot Studio Tour, making pots and exhibiting around the country.

Process is the main influence on my work. I use a technique called water carving that mimics erosion. I paint paraffin on my dry, unfired pots and then wash the surface with a very wet sponge.   The possibilities of this technique helped to create the patterns and lines decorating my pots. I didn’t envision a style to seek out but was led to my current body of work by following this technique. Certain lines and shapes are possible in water carving and these are the lines and shapes in my work.

I look to mass-produced glass, metal and plastic for inspiration just as much as I look to contemporary and historic pottery. The recent drawings on my work come from diagrams, images of cells and viruses, Mayan glyphs and symbols used in mathematics.