Matt Fiske – Red Lodge Clay Center

Matt FiskeSitka, Alaska

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Red Lodge Clay Center Long-Term Resident 2016-18

Matt was born in Carbondale, Illinois and grew up in Southern Indiana. Matt earned a BFA in Ceramics and Art History from Indiana University in 2007. During his undergraduate studies, Matt spent significant time in China where he studied the history and technology of Chinese porcelain. Between 2007-2009 Matt taught English and worked in a small clay studio in Seoul, South Korea.

Before attending Graduate school in Utah, he spent two years as a resident artist at the Armory Art Center in West Palm Beach, Florida. In 2016, Matt received his MFA in Ceramics from Utah State University. He worked as a long-term resident at the Red Lodge Clay Center in Red Lodge, Montana, between 2016-2018. Matt now lives in Sitka, Alaska, where he maintains a home studio, teaches as an adjunct professor for University of Alaska, and continues to research the intersection of ceramics, geology, and material science.

My work explores the intersection of ceramics, chemistry, and geology. I’ve been an avid rockhound since I could walk, and I’ve been picking up stuff and digging in the dirt ever since. There are a lot of gemstones that have analogues in ceramics – and much of my research has been centered on studying and understanding the underlying science of materials and the firing process. In my mind’s eye, glaciers give way to icy celadon glazes. Volcanoes ooze magma in the way that molten glazes cascade down curves and roll off edges. Crystals grow and forms take shape when the ingredients are there, and the conditions are right. A vital part of my studio practice takes place outside of the studio itself – exploring the landscapes and materials of Utah, Idaho, Montana, and now Alaska. For me there is something incredible and romantic about the idea of transforming rocks and dirt into beautiful things.

Daily life plays an important role in what I make and why. The needs of the home have always been a useful starting point for conceiving specific utilitarian forms. I make a lot of cups, bottles, and drinking vessels – because in my experience, everyone drinks something. Whether it’s coffee, tea, water, or bourbon, I’m motivated to make objects that enhance these experiences and enliven domestic spaces.

In the end I strive to integrate my desire to make utilitarian pottery with my love of materials and nature. What drew me in and keeps me interested are the endless variations possible in ceramics. The idea of constantly searching for new possibilities is at the heart of who I am and why I do what I do. At the same time, my process demands looking forward to the constant challenge of pairing new forms with new surfaces, while at the same time looking backward and borrowing from the both the natural world and human history. I think my strongest work finds a balance between these ideas, and my hope is that my it evokes a similar curiosity in the people who see and use it.