Stephanie Wilhelm is a ceramic artist from Maryland. She holds a BFA from Elizabethtown College in Pennsylvania and an MFA from the University of Florida. Throughout her career she has been a production potter, spent years in the wood-firing community, and worked at multiple community clay centers and institutions maintaining the studios and assisting visiting artists. She is a dedicated educator with years of teaching experience in outreach and community studios, as well as college level classes. Stephanie was a 2014-2015 Artist in Residence at the Brockway Center for Arts and Technology in Pennsylvania and a 2018-2019 Artist in Residence at the Arrowmont School of Arts and Crafts. She has exhibited her work throughout the US and internationally and was a 2017 NCECA Graduate Student Fellowship recipient. Stephanie is currently a part of the Red Lodge Clay Center in Montana as one of their 2019-2020 Long Term Artists in Residence.
I find inspiration in the history of decorative ceramics moving beyond conventional function and form, creating union between shape, ornamentation, and story. One particular theme in my work uses narrative of the dog to communicate the internal sense of belonging and comfort formed through companionship. These large decorative pieces are used not to convey a specific animal, but instead a feeling and our innate desire to belong. Aside from what dogs provide us emotionally in our current lives; within many canonic masterpieces they were essential to the meaning of the piece and depicted to symbolize protection, loyalty, and love.
The work I make requires a great deal of hand painting and I enjoy how ornamentation inspires me to ask questions about the relation between functional and decorative form. My most recent series is an exploration outside of the canine character in an effort to express ideas of comfort and joy through form, pattern, and surface. I am interested in how the layers of pattern and texture can call attention to the piece, provide visual direction, and emphasize depth in it’s decorative surface. It is my hope that the work provides joy or a sense of nostalgia and comfort for those that experience it.”