Red Lodge Clay Center – Short-Term Resident 2022
Allison Athens is a ceramic artist originally from Fairbanks, Alaska who recently moved to Boulder, Colorado. She earned her BA in Comparative Literature from The Colorado College, her PhD in Literature from the University of California, Santa Cruz, and her law degree from the University of California, Berkeley School of Law. Allison has taught literature and writing classes as an adjunct professor and represented underserved Alaskans as a public defender. She tends to let her art be sidetracked by academic and professional pursuits, but then lets her work in social histories, environmental activism, and animal advocacy inform her work in clay.
I work in the realm of curiosity and exploration, where fantasy is encouraged, but reality is always a tether. I find myself drawn to shaping intriguing and animated forms partly from the nature of clay itself, its malleability and versatility. But my personal history of connection to a lively nature that surrounded me growing up in Alaska, my interest in environmental histories and animal stories as a graduate student in literature, and my later studies of environmental and animal advocacy in law school also inspire me to make lively forms, to invite viewers and users to re-think the idea of the “things” that inhabit our spaces with us. In my professional life outside of art, I deal with many heavy and difficult topics surrounding the modern human experience. With my art, I bring whimsy, humor, and play to the forefront. I start with everyday functional forms, but seek to bring liveliness – even mischievousness – to these forms, transforming a conventional idea into something a little unexpected.