Jenna Schmidt – Red Lodge Clay Center

Jenna SchmidtCarroll, Ohio

Red Lodge Clay Center, Short-Term Resident 2021

Jenna Schmidt is a central Ohio native who recently graduated from the BFA Ceramics program at Ohio University in Athens, Ohio.  After being fortunate to take a variety of courses such as Wheel Throwing, Hand Building, Glaze Calculations, and Kiln Building, she has been able to develop an assortment of concepts and techniques.  She continued her exploration in ceramics by working with Professor Brad Schwieger through the PACE program at Ohio University, as well as, attending workshops like Arrowmont School of Arts and Crafts, Wooster Ohio Functional Ceramics Workshop, NCECA, and assisting in Women Working With Clay Symposium at Hollins University.

With the combination of education and experience, Jenna has taken a special interest in wheel thrown pottery, specifically service ware.  The soda kiln quickly became her choice for final firing.  To take advantage of this firing process, she carefully considers future placement of the ware inside the kiln while making each piece.  Currently, her focus is in how to achieve a unique but intentional flashing by manipulating wadding and using the refectory material as more of a decorative component.

The ability to produce a body of work that serves a daily purpose is something that drives my work.  As a potter, the words authentic, genuine and honest come to mind while I am creating.  Functionally is key. In order for my pots to be successful, they must work well for their intended use. This establishes a relationship with the user that grows over time. The vessels I choose to create relate to tableware forms I became familiar with growing up within my own home, that are then fired in an atmospheric kiln.  When I think about the atmospheric firings I have attended, I am reminded that it is during these times when I have made relationships with people who I now consider my family. I want my work to display this same sense of community, to encourage gatherings, whether it be around a dinner table at home or around a burning wood kiln at a university.

The forms I generate are simple forms that can act as a canvas for the movement of the flame that occurs during the firing process. Similar to a family photograph that collect memories of shared experiences, my pots capture moments inside the kiln.  These moments hold the effects of the soda kiln – warm, flashy tones left behind on pots – remind me of the mood during these gatherings I have with my family and friends.  The use of flashing slips, wadding placement, as well as additional alterations off the wheel, encourages the flame and allows the flashing to be more controlled and intentional. The use of nuances found within each kilnload offer new and exciting possibilities. This continuous exploration drives me, the treatment and intention of each pot opening new ideas to investigate, and new ways for my work to continue to evolve and grow.