NEW WORK

EAT

In the spring of 2023, Stefani Threet approached me with the idea of creating a new body of work to show at Ceramic Concept. These new pieces are the result of that conversation. It pulls together pieces of many different ideas, processes and media I've worked with all the way back to college including painting, printmaking, mixed media collage and photography, and combines them in new ways with other techniques I had never tried before.  

One of the earliest things that shaped my current aesthetic was the outdoor message board at the university in China where I studied for a term in the early 90's. Messages were written in ink on rice paper, and glued on top of previous messages. As they were weathered by the sun, wind and rain, the ink bled and the paper peeled and became transparent in places, both exposing and hiding the layers underneath. The fragments of text lost their meaning as language, becoming pattern and shape. 

Many of the pots in this show are coated with terra sigillata; a clay slip made by letting clay settle in water, then siphoning off only the finest particles that float in the middle of the mix. This creates a thin white slip with a soft sheen that covers over my dark clay, while still allowing the surface of the clay, and some its color, to show through. I created divisions on the pots like windows that reveal some pieces of what's beneath the surface and obscure others. I filled them with silk-screened and painted underglaze, and with decal images of patterns and textures.

As I worked on these new pieces, exploring new territory and digging back through my past creative successes and failures, it felt a little like archeology, and it seemed only right to also include the dinosaur imagery I currently work with. Many of the other images come from an image bank I've created over the years of pictures I take of textures I find interesting. Many include snippets of deteriorated text that remind me of those Chinese message boards.

  • "Exactly what I was looking for with great communication, fast shipping and absolutely beautiful craftsmanship. Cannot recommend this shop enough!"

    -Rachel

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    "BEST. MUG. EVER."

    -Ayla

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    "I love this mug so much!! It has a very comfortable handle and it's clear this was made with care. The size is perfect for my morning coffee and it brings joy to my morning! This mug is worth every penny, will be looking to add to my new collection in the future."

    -Noelle

I MAKE WHEEL THROWN POTTERY THAT IS CREATED WITH CARE, AND MEANT TO BE USED.

Keith Hershberger is a potter living outside Philadelphia, PA who has been making a living working in clay for 25 years. A dino nut as a child, he could name every dinosaur discovered by the time he was four, and he spent countless hours drawing them. Now, with his line of dinosaur pottery, he found a way to bring some of that carefree childhood joy into his ceramic work. You can find his work in shops and galleries across the US, and at occasional shows throughout the east coast and midwest. His work has been published in 500 Prints on Clay and in Graphic Clay by Jason Burnett. He graduated from Goshen College with a B.A. in Fine Art with a focus on ceramics.

  • WEDGING

    The first step in making my work is to cut up the clay and weigh it so all the pieces of clay are the correct weight for the shape I’ll be making. I then wedge the clay to make it consistent and work out any air bubbles.

  • THROWING

    Most of my work is made on the potter’s wheel. After it comes off the wheel, the clay is very soft, and needs to dry out until it is firm enough to continue to work with it.

  • TRIMMING

    Once the clay has dried to the point where it can't be bent, but can still be dented with a fingernail (a stage called leather hard), I turn my bowls and plates over and trim away the extra clay to create a nice foot.

  • HANDLES

    To make my handles, I attach a piece of soft clay to the leather-hard mug, pull it to stretch it out into shape, then attach it to the bottom of the mug. It takes me longer to use this method, but allows me to make a comfortable handle that is thin in the middle and thicker at the top and bottom attachment points.

  • BISQUE

    After the work dries completely, I load it into the kiln for the first firing to over 1700F. This makes the work less fragile for glazing, allows for consistent glaze thickness, and removes all water down to the molecular level so they can never be turned back into workable clay.

  • GLAZE

    Glaze is essentially a layer of glass. I formulate, test, and mix my own glazes using water and dry raw materials. I dip the bisqued pieces in my glaze and load them in the kiln for the second firing, which goes to 2170F in order for the glaze to melt properly.

  • IMAGE DESIGN

    I create my images through a combination of drawing by hand, found imagery, and digital editing in Photoshop and Illustrator. I also take photos of textures I find interesting and layer them into my images.

  • DECALS

    I print my own decals, and after the glaze firing, I apply them to the finished surface and put them back in the kiln for a third firing. The decal paper burns away, but the iron oxide in the black ink sets into the glaze and transfers the image.

  • GOLD

    On some pieces, I do a final fourth firing with custom 20k gold decals

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