Steve received his MFA from the New York State College of Ceramics at Alfred University in 1996, and obtained a BFA from the Hartford Art School in Connecticut in 1993. Additionally, he studied at the Kansas City Art Institute and was a resident at the Archie Bray Foundation. Currently, along with exhibiting nationally, he teaches at the University of Alaska, Anchorage.
Creating a simple coffee mug comes from my desire to use something everyday that strikes up a warm conversation with me. Making pots allows me to be a formalist who loves the symbolic results of a shape, color and texture combinations. I can be an engineer who develops a refreshing approach to something we have seen or used before. I have the freedom to design work to compliment a space or a table. With these attributes, I intend to raise the importance of the mug from mundane to meaningful, from words to poetry.
My choices of pots to make are based on the food and drink I prepare and consume everyday. The shapes present themselves during the making process. Formal decisions happen quickly, fueled by intuitive information. The forms originate from inspirations I receive historical ceramics. Pots from ancient Persia and Sung Dynasty China speak of clear intention and purpose. They have become symbols of purity and and visual harmony. My interpretations of these forms are small in size, which beckon intimate contact. The subtleties of stretched volume, soft curves, and organic textures create sensations reminiscent of human form. The resulting feel can swing from being humorous to serious, from sexy to sedate.
I use specific glazes to unify the variations of line quality and texture that exist in one piece. I have chosen soft colors that give a delicate but flamboyant edge to the grounded stature of the work. Glazes pool in the recesses of the markings giving depth to the surface. The process of firing to a hot temperature further melts the glazing giving the pots a glowing, gemlike surface. The manner in which I choose and combine materials leads to work that balances between the images of ornate “Sunday dinner” ware and the trustworthy “coffee mug in the car” ware.
I strive to be a designer of useful objects that are thoughtful in terms of my approach to form, selecting glazes, applying surface textures, and overall presentation. Presently, I see my work being a part of eating and drinking rituals of the every day. Involvement in a routine generates familiarity, understanding, and closeness. I hope for my pots to speak to people beyond their functionality and to tell a provoking story through the symbolism of form and color. I wish for them to be used and understood as objects that are testaments to observations of beauty.