Ernest Forward – Red Lodge Clay Center

Ernest ForwardRed Lodge, Montana

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Former RLCC Staff Member, Red Lodge Clay Center Long-Term Resident 2008-09, Short-Term Resident (AIA) 2015

Beginning with his first high school ceramic class in 1996, shortly after moving to Eagle River, Alaska, Ernest realized his passion for ceramics. He pursued this aspiration when he moved to Fairbanks in 2004 where he spent four years attending the University of Alaska Fairbanks, receiving his B.F.A. in Ceramics in 2008. Ernest was selected, upon graduation, to teach Ceramics for the University of Alaska Fairbanks Summer Visual Art Academy. In the Fall of 2008 the artist moved to Montana for a year long residency at the Red Lodge Clay Center to further develop his work, his dedication, and love for the ceramic arts. In Spring of 2012 he received his MFA in Ceramics at Montana State University.  Ernest moved to Oxford Mississippi in the Fall of 2012 to join the Department of Art at The University of Mississippi, as Instructor/Ceramic Technician. In Fall of 2014 Ernest changed roles at the University of Mississippi, becoming Visiting Assistant Professor, Ceramics.  Ernest moved back to Montana to join the Red Lodge Clay Center as Program and Facilities Coordinator from Summer 2015-Spring 2019. Currently Ernest and his wife Marni live in Missoula Montana, enjoying the outdoors, new adventures, and getting settled in a new studio they built in May 2020.

Ernest has studied in China, investigating and researching different techniques of working, and technological applications of clay, at the Jingdezhen Ceramic Institute.

He has shown work, lectured, and given workshops nationally and internationally.  His knowledge in the building and repairing of kilns, along with his mastery of glazes, and skills as a ceramist allow him the ability to continue exploring new techniques that are used to create unique masterpieces.

I am inspired by the challenges of creating and the fabrication of objects that are both provoking, and desirable to touch and interact with.
I choose to create specific ceramic objects that foster memory stimulation and the ability to question functionality of a familiar object. Both performance based works and stand-alone objects relate to the curiosity and drive for discovery imbedded in human nature. My work also promotes the sense of discovery by the use of narratives and hidden clues as to how I intend the works to function. I leave the viewer the opportunity to unfold the work though the sense of touch, sound and visual aesthetics.

I have always had a passion for building and fabrication. I am drawn to the many different building and firing techniques clay has to offer. Having worked with many other materials I choose ceramic as my primary medium. Ceramics allows me the ability to create forms, colors, details, and mimic any surface or object.

The haptic qualities are the strongest origins of ceramics, which is why this work is designed for those that share the same curiosity that I have with the world.