Stephanie WilhelmGatlinburg, Tennessee

Current Red Lodge Clay Center Long-Term Resident 2019-2020

I find inspiration in the history of decorative ceramics moving beyond conventional function and form, creating union between shape, ornamentation, and story.
My previous body of work used narrative of the dog and human relationship to communicate the internal sense of belonging and comfort formed through companionship. Large decorative pieces depicting imagery of the dog were usedĀ not to convey a specific animal, but instead a feelingĀ and our innate desire to belong.

In creating this most recent series of work, I am exploring form and volume, as well as emphasizing surface with low relief patterns and texture. The layers of pattern call attention to the form, provide direction, and possess a visual softness and physical depth. I further connect this body of work to the history of decorative ceramics by incorporating gold luster details within the warm, floral patterns I paint.

This work is an exploration outside of the canine character in an effort to express ideas of comfort and joy through form, pattern, and surface. I want to understand my desire to invest time and energy painting a pattern and meticulous details. How does that provide challenge and satisfaction for me as a maker? How does that provide a joyful and individual experience for the viewer or user? As an artist, incorporating pattern has inspired new approaches to materials and techniques, a profound level of control, and a curiosity about the relation between functional and decorative form. It is my hope that the patterns interact in a way that emphasize the form, breath, and presence of each individual piece.