Erika Van KirkHamtramck, Michigan

Red Lodge Clay Center – Short-Term Resident 2024

Erika Van Kirk is a ceramic artist from Hamtramck, Michigan. She uses mold-making, slip casting, wheel throwing, and digital fabrication to create design-based objects. She studied at Siena Heights University in Michigan where she received her BFA. Erika has been a resident at Anderson Ranch Art Center and the was the Ceramic Technician for the Open Studio Residency at Haystack Mountain School of Crafts. She also works as a park ranger where she teaches workshops that combine art and the natural world.

My work explores the intersection of craft and design through functional and sculptural ceramic objects. I playfully experiment with materials and processes, aiming to make pieces that promote quiet mindfulness in everyday life.

I experience a peaceful state of openness and consideration when I’m out in nature and discovering the little details all around me. I feel the same way when I’m turning a finished piece over in my hands or I’m absorbed in parts of the making process. I hope those feelings will come through the work when the viewer interacts with a finished piece in their home.

Slip casting, mold making, digital fabrication and design, and wheel throwing are all a part of my practice, and each process informs the rest. I work intuitively back and forth with forms and molds, often altering molds once they are created that result in forms I did not imagine at the start of the process. This creative play and collaboration with processes is what drives my practice.