Breena BuettnerHelena, MT

Red Lodge Clay Center – Short-Term Resident 2017, (AIA) 2018

Breena is a ceramic artist living in Helena, Montana where she balances her studio practice with work and enjoying the great outdoors. Raised in the plains of Amarillo, Texas, Breena discovered her love for clay in a high school art class that led her to attend the University of North Texas where she earned a Bachelors of Fine Arts with a concentration in Ceramics and a minor in Psychology in 2013. Breena later attended Northern Arizona University for Post Baccalaureate studies in ceramics and her ceramic work has been shown in many juried art exhibitions throughout the United States and Canada.

In addition to traditional education, she has worked in studios across the country, been a studio assistant to many ceramic artists, and participated in artist residency programs. Starting in 2016, Breena spent two years as the Gallery and Online Sales Manager at the Archie Bray Foundation for the Ceramic Arts where that experience of working with the large community of artists and art collectors solidified her decision to make Helena, Montana a permanent home. She was a short-term Artist-in-Residence at the Red Lodge Clay Center, and most recently, a short-term Artist-in-Residence at the Archie Bray Foundation of Ceramic Arts. In 2018, she settled into her home studio nestled in the South Hills of Helena in a house built in 1880 that comes with all the quirks. Breena is an active part of the ceramic arts community in Helena and participates in many groups and organizations throughout the state.

I am intrigued by the unexpected states of change that take place throughout life and the ceramic process. This interest has led me to utilize a wood fueled kiln that inherently makes it’s own marks on the work and gives each piece a weathered sense of something more than myself. For surface design, I attempt to break up the organic flame marks on the piece but creating a segment for a glaze pattern. Simple lines and stripes compel me most because they demonstrate the most drastic state of change when the effects of wood ash loosen up the repetition and cause distortion. Utilizing cut outs in the form, that mimic the loose and linear glaze pattern, allow for a strict tactile quality that will remain unaltered by the fire and provide a way to see into the vessel or caddy. I aim for this body of work to create a compositional balance between the contrasting appearances of a straightforward glaze design and the organic depths of flame patterning. It is not only a way to balance differences of contemporary and traditional pottery, but also geometric and organic, strict and loose, as well as intended and unknown outcomes.