Casey WhittierKansas City, Missouri


Casey Whittier received her BFA from the Kansas City Art Institute and MFA from the University of Colorado Boulder.

Utilizing a variety of forming methods in glass and clay, Whittier reinterprets objects from her daily experience, unites the landscapes of her reality with the landscapes of daydreams, exploits the visceral qualities of the materials, and ponders the power of shared experience.

Whittier is an advocate for community engagement through the arts. She teaches ceramics social practice at the Kansas City Art Institute. Whittier works from her home studio, is a member of the socially engaged craft collective, and is a board member for Artaxis.org.

My work is often born from one of the following experiences: an indescribable feeling of excitement; a nagging contradiction of desire; a need to share something that I cannot yet explain; an obsession; a question or series of questions; a desire to respond to or reflect on a thought, feeling, or event; the recognition of something poignant or absurd; the experience of misunderstanding.

I see each sculpture and installation as a way to advocate for a direct and tactile relationship with the world.  For as long as I can remember, I have been drawn to cast-off objects and quiet spaces — to the things stuck in the corner, at the bottom of the pile. Objects aid us in our humanity: they enhance our existing abilities, offer new opportunities, communicate values, serve as cultural symbols. These inconspicuous objects — perpetrators of the mundane, of wonder, of mystery — are my starting point.

I’m interested in an object’s ability to catalyze a story, to conjure up associations: past, present, future, real, fictional, or in-between. The objects in my work are culled from the everyday.  Ubiquitous, these are objects of utility and familiarity, made strange by material qualities and formal execution. Through these shifts in material, presentation, and utility, I work to make space for the metaphorical and imaginative possibilities to rise to the surface.

An exploration of touch and intuitive making is deeply embedded in my studio practice and in the community-based projects that I do. Clay serves as palimpsest in my practice; I seek to exploit its inherent variations in surface and texture, its ability to mimic, to be thick, thin, ephemeral or permanent. The physical recordings that come through rolling, tearing, squishing, dipping, pushing, pinching and scratching become representations of touch, of thought, of time spent.