Artist Statement

White Stoneware
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As a ceramic artist, my work focuses on functional pots.  I feel the need to make utilitarian objects for many reasons.  Mainly, I feel that the use of a handmade dish can help our fast paced society take a step back from their everyday routine.  It is my belief that pottery has the power to help a person stop and appreciate the effort and care that has gone into the creation of their morning cup of coffee or bowl of cereal.  

Growing up on a rural Minnesota dairy farm has been a major influence in my work. From the time I was a young girl, I always found joy in cooking for my family.  Sitting down with home cooked meals meant that lots of time was spent at the dinner table, which has always been the center of most family events, and is now in my own home.  Looking back on the nostalgia of this, I make pots to pay homage to those memories, along with the hope of inspiring new moments and memories for my family and friends. 

My other major influence stems from my grandparents.  My grandfather is a wood-worker, who makes furniture, while my grandmother does a lot of the finishing work with varnish and stains.  My drive to make work comes from both of them, as well as the romanticism that goes along with them being the local wood-workers, and I being the local potter.  My grandfather has been making and installing cabinets for over 50 years, in our small Mississippi river town of 500 people.  Almost everyone has something in their home made by him, and I hope that my work could have the same presence in other people’s homes.

For visual inspiration my sources are vast.  I look at baskets, purses & handbags, English Silver, and functional ceramics from all time periods.  As for decorative surfaces, my research involves traditional Japanese and Chinese surface design, botanical photography, wrought iron, antique linoleum, tiles & wallpaper, as well as contemporary fabric design.  

As a clay artist, my intention is to make pots that are tactile & inviting.  Decoration is meant to enhance the object while setting up surprises for the user.  Through the constant use of functional ceramics my hope is to educate the user on the importance of surrounding ones self with the handmade.

(c) 2006-2011 Renee Heyer-Starrett