Featured Artist Bill Wilkey – Red Lodge Clay Center

Featured Artist Bill WilkeyJun 04, 2021 - Jun 26, 2021

Curatorial Statement


Exhibition Posted Online: Monday, June 7, 2021 by 10 am MT

Bill Wilkey is a studio artist living in Helena, Montana. He was recently an artist in residence and visiting faculty at Indiana University Southeast. He received his MFA from the University of Missouri-Columbia, and BFA from East Tennessee State University in Johnson City, Tennessee. Wilkey has also had the opportunity to learn from the craft school experience, which has taken him to places like Penland School of Crafts in Western North Carolina and Haystack Mountain School of Crafts, on the coast of Maine where he was able to assist other makers. Wilkey has actively exhibited nationally. This includes three consecutive Nationally Juried Student Exhibitions in conjunction with the National Council on Education for the Ceramic Arts conference (NCECA). He has been featured in Ceramics Monthly as an Emerging Artist, as well as a cover article for Pottery Making Illustrated. He was also the recipient of the Lincoln and Lillstreet Fellowships as a long-term resident at the Archie Bray Foundation for the Ceramic Arts.

Crafting an object that can potentially exist beyond my own intention allows me to be a part of someone’s daily ritual or individual escape. The intimacy of a cup or bowl becomes something the user can abide by and confide in. In turn, the discipline of making these objects of integrity becomes a safe haven of my very own.

Observations from specific past experiences are formative to the process. For example, while investing the time to refine the planes of every pot, I recall taking care to counter-sink each finishing nail into a bookshelf built with my father.  The uninterrupted contour of my forms are linked to the memory of standing on top of a dome in Florence and realizing how long it has stood the test of time and will continue to do so well past my lifetime. Handling a thoughtfully made mug on a daily basis reminds me of using a quality built tool. Both cultivate trust between the user and the maker.

Pots return from the kiln with the confidence and sincerity of a wind worn landscape. The chance reactions produced in an atmospheric kiln help to reestablish the delicate balance between the order inherent in creating and the intrinsic chaos of firing. The varying proportion of the two helps distinguish one pot from another. These differences facilitate an enriched experience and sustain a cherished relationship between the person and the pot.
-Bill Wilkey