Featured Artist Jessica Knapp – Red Lodge Clay Center

Featured Artist Jessica KnappJul 05, 2024 - Aug 03, 2024

Curatorial Statement

Exhibition Posted Online: Monday, July 8, 2024 at 10 am MT


Jessica Knapp received a BFA in Crafts with a Ceramics Specialization and a BA in English: Professional Writing from Kutztown University and an MFA in Ceramics from the University of Colorado, Boulder. After working as a resident artist at San Diego State University, she spent almost two years as a resident artist at the Zentrum Für Keramik in Berlin, Germany, funded by a German Chancellor Fellowship awarded by the Alexander von Humboldt Foundation.

After returning to the US, she taught at Denison University as a visiting professor and is currently editor for Ceramics Monthly and associate editor for Pottery Making Illustrated magazines, in addition to maintaining a studio practice.

In addition to a solo exhibition in Berlin, her work has been included in numerous two-person and group exhibitions in the US and internationally.


I find histories—both material and cultural/social/geograhical histories—to be strong sources of inspiration for my work. The history of how porcelain was developed in Europe in the early 1700s in an attempt to reproduce imported porcelain from China,  the high value that it was assigned (it was known as white gold) and the way that the aura, as well as the material’s actual usefulness, persists to this day, are fascinating and provide rich source material for me.

The familiarity that most people have with porcelain, along with the meanings we ascribe to it—as a symbol of cleanliness, purity, refinement, rarity, permanence, delicacy and wealth—provide an interesting way for me to delve into a subject and to share it with an audience. I use the material familiarity, and both beauty and 

humor as tools to engage an audience. Approaching concepts, subjects, and histories in this way becomes a positive collaboration with the audience, as I and look at and try to understand a historical event and how it shaped the landscape or culture today, or a subject (like resource consumption) that has great emotional, cultural, and economic complexity. 

The works that I make are visual poems that explore an idea or subject, try to reflect on it, and remain open and hopeful. The rich symbolism and allure, and cultural complexity associated with porcelain provides me with opportunities to explore, map out, and respond to other histories as well, personal or universal; histories that are not easily described by words alone due to the intense emotion that surrounds them. I create objects and installations, many of which could be described as abstracted layered maps, combining political boundaries with a tracking of people’s voluntary or involuntary movement and reaction to these boundaries, my own emotional response to the particulars of the history I am researching, and in some cases the responses of viewers, whom I want to engage in a dialog.
-Jessica Knapp