Featured Artist – Joy TannerOct 06, 2017 - Oct 27, 2017

Curatorial Statement

Artist’s Reception: Friday, October 6, 2017 from 5-7pm MT

Exhibition Posted Online: Monday, October 9 by 10am Mountain Time


After a childhood full of music lessons and exploring the natural world while growing up in eastern Tennessee, Joy Tanner redirected her creative focus when she discovered clay in college.  In 2004, she received a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree in Ceramics at the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga.   She then pursued a Resident Artist position at the Odyssey Center for the Ceramic Arts in Asheville, North Carolina.  In 2007 Joy established her own clay studio near Penland School of Crafts in Bakersville, North Carolina.  Immersing herself in the beautiful mountains has greatly inspired her work and her life.  Reflections of detail and pattern are a distinctive element within Joy’s pottery, and she enjoys getting deep into the creative process with such a responsive material as clay.  In the summer of 2010, she was awarded a summer residency at the Watershed Center for the Ceramic Arts in Newcastle, Maine where she concentrated on making one of her favorite ewer forms.  Joy then completed a three year Artist Residency at the EnergyXChange in Burnsville, North Carolina.  In 2014 Joy and her husband William Baker, (also a potter) built their own studio, Wood Song Pottery in Bakersville, NC where they now live and work. She is a member of the Southern Highland Craft Guild, Piedmont Craftsmen, and the Toe River Arts Council and exhibits her work in regional and national galleries. She enjoys her creative life with her husband and small daughter in the quiet mountains of North Carolina.

Artist Statement

Integrating the way I experience the world with the way I design and create functional pottery is essential to my creativity. Whether rinsing garden tomatoes at the kitchen sink, or pausing to study wildflowers along the trail, I believe in taking time to notice the little details of life. I am just as awed by the way a leaf connects to its stem as I am the folds of a mountain range or bursts of clouds at sunset. I always view these things with an eye toward conserving and celebrating the environment that I live in. My work bears the mark of these values, resulting in uniquely designed pottery that is just as inviting to ponder and touch as it is to use and share. I make wheel-thrown and hand-built wares for the home, including bowls, cups, plates, pitchers, vases, servers, lidded jars, teapots, and platters. My color palate features earthy reds, deep browns, soft blushes of whites, twilight blues and natural variations of pattern that result from the wood and soda firings. To pair with these tones of autumn, I add glazes of brilliant ambers, warm yellows, shades of golden honey, and watery olive greens to the carved areas. Glazes spread and lightly pool across textured surfaces and highlight the curve of a handle, the lip of a tumbler, or the small peak or divot on a bowl. While I pay equal attention to form, surface, and detail, my pottery is most celebrated for its elegantly carved or pressed patterns inspired by nature. These patterns accrue a rhythm all their own as they swirl, spiral, and drape across surfaces, suggesting waving grass, ripples in a stream, stalks of wheat, terraced slopes, thistles and pods, or windblown tracks in the sand. Cradling a cup or bowl in their hands, people feel inspired to bring a sense of awareness and ritual into their lives. In the end, I hope that echoes of the natural world in my work invite them to consider the importance of conservation and conscious living. – Joy Tanner