Red Lodge Clay Center – Short-Term Resident 2023
Zachary Nickman was born and raised in Salt Lake City, Utah. Zachary studied ceramics at Utah State University in Logan, Utah, from which he graduated in 2021. He is currently leading a nomadic life, pursuing opportunities to work with clay and to continue making functional pottery.
I’m fascinated by our place within the natural world. In my practice I attempt to draw attention to the conflict and the irony inherent in our struggle for earthly resources. I find inspiration for surface colors and designs by abstracting macro and micro landscapes around me. Of the landscapes my surfaces are based on all have specific, human-caused, issues facing them. It is my desire to craft objects, using careful process and material choices, which reduce our collective desire for excess and inspire reflection through a long and useful life. My explorations in craft revolve around making quiet, functional objects that stand the test of time. Using clay or wood, I make pottery and furniture that are generally free of ornate decoration, relying on craft, form, and utility as their means of intrigue. My furniture utilizes domestic lumber to create objects which facilitate connection and discussion of critical issues. Using stoneware clay, I make pots with utility in mind. In addition to being more locally available than porcelain, there is something special about the tactile qualities and warmth inherent in stoneware clays. Crystalline-matte glazes provide a unique surface and texture for functional pottery, encouraging the fingertips to explore the forms and surfaces rather than just the eyes. Quiet forms and minimal surface decoration allow each material to reveal its special qualities, celebrating the source of my fascination with earthly materials.