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August 10th 2013 - Eric Stearns Other products by Bracker's Good Earth Clays, Inc.

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Watch Eric Stearns live on YouTube with Google+ Hangouts

Visit Bracker's in person or online at YouTube to watch Eric in action from 10 am to 3 pm (Central Time Zone) Saturday, August 10th.

Anne doesn’t usually do this, but she’s going to leave the Second Saturday topic as a surprise for anyone who shows up. Look through the example images of his work and consider the topic of both the July Second Saturday and the September Second Saturday to get an idea of what he might demonstrate. You’ll be sorry if you miss this Second Saturday, but you can always return to this webpage after his demo to see images taken that day and/or watch the full, unedited video from Saturday on YouTube after the event ends.

The first 7 photos are courtesy Eric Stearns to show examples of his artwork prior to his Second Saturday.



The Reflection in My Art

When people ask me about my work I tend to give them the interest in mathematics, when really that's just a small component behind the meaning of my pieces. Each piece is truly a reflection of who I am as a person and as an artist. I believe that if my art wasn't an expression of myself I wouldn't be interested in making it. For once I will expose myself with regards to these pieces and the meanings behind them. I've chosen to not talk about the meaning of my pieces with others for I have had a difficult life and through my art I express and deal with the concealed emotions of my past.

First, let me begin by explaining why I choose to concentrate my area of work on the raku process. Raku art pieces are not long term and in no way will last until the end of earth. Over time, the pieces become vulnerable exposing them to unlimited trials of actions of which damage the integrity of the piece. For example, the pieces might break, start to collect moisture or begin to deteriorate and fade all of which could lead to possible replacement by the owner. Raku is also very complex, for when you think you have it figured out, something changes or surprises you. These examples are related directly to my life and the person that I am. Like raku, I will not live forever; over time I too will pass as will my pottery. It is possible that I might put so much pressure on myself to succeed that I might break and fade as an artist. Additionally, many people refer to me as complex as well. They think they know a lot about me when actually they do not know anything about the person I am. I choose to tell only certain elements about myself while keeping other aspects of my life hidden, of which translates into other aspects of my work.

The primary choice of glaze I chose to use is a crackling glaze, that when cooled rapidly cracks in certain areas more than others. I view these as veins, paths or trails and shattered dreams. I have gone through a lot in my life and most of it has been through physical abuse and blame. I thought veins are representative for when I am really worked up I have a tendency to tighten up throughout my body causing my veins to bulge. Each vein leads to another one all throughout my body as reflected on the body of my pieces, only ending when there is no other place to go. In everyday life we go through different paths of life, wondering if we are doing the right thing or not. Having so many different directions to choose from is always challenging but we choose a path to follow until life causes us to choose another. I have taken several journeys down paths and trails throughout my life that differ from my family and their beliefs. I chose the road that I thought best fit me. I was the first in my family to go to college and complete an undergraduate degree. Following graduation, I was accepted to graduate school. Through this experience I have had many accomplishments as well as multiple opportunities to grow as an artist. So far, I have no complaints or regrets. I have taken the road less traveled and I am learning a many valuable lessons of which make up the person I am today.

On a couple of pieces I have chosen to use the color red. The color red refers to the pain and the love that I have experienced in my life. The color in general can represent a range of seemingly conflicting emotions from passionate love to violence and war. I want everyone to see me for who I am today and not judge me for what I went through in the past. But through all of this pain I have learned a great deal about my love and passion for my work. My art means a lot to me, I chose to show only the pieces that reflect myself, the others usually find the dumpster or are only a sketch never of which is transferred onto one of my forms.

Now that I have talked about certain parts of my pieces, I would like to address them as a whole. When I step back and look at my work the first thing that I see is that these pieces have taken a lot of time and have evolved to create the final creation of a perfectionist. I see an artist who pays attention to every little detail. These pieces are clean cut, meticulous, straightforward, attractive, quiet and one of a kind. I dress my pottery as if I was dressing myself. I take great pride in the overall appearance of myself and I feel the same way about my work. I have expensive taste when it comes to clothes and when I dress up, I feel good about myself. I want my pieces to express this same expensive taste and feel good emotion.

Most of the pieces have some type of piercing on them. Some pieces have hidden forms or cylinders inside of them, with some of these cylinders pierced as well. What I am trying to convey through piercing of the vessels is that I too have so many hidden secrets about my life and those around me are starting to see right through or past me. I feel that my past is tearing me apart, and at times I am only holding on by strands. This emotion is seen in the strands of clay that are bonded with one another, barely holding the piece together, making each extremely fragile for at any minute they could fall apart.
Eric's Artist Statement:

Born and raised on a ranch near North Platte, Nebraska, I earned a Bachelor of Arts Degree with a Professional Emphasis in 2003 from Doane College in Crete, Nebraska. After college, I opened my first studio, Stearns Ceramics, in North Platte, NE. After teaching full-time, as well as assisting my family on the ranch, I decided to commit more fully to my art and received a Master of Fine Arts at Fort Hays State University in 2008 studying under Linda Ganstrom.

Developing a professional level of proficiency on the potter's wheel while in graduate school, I devoted long hours and careful attention to the craft of pottery. Immersed in the academic art community, I absorbed lessons from potters and sculptors. Translating their concepts and techniques into my own style combined with my love of mathematical designs and the labor intensive craft of carving and piercing, my vessels are unique, intricate and elegant. Further inspired by contemporary art, I traveled to NCECA, (National Council on Education for the Ceramic Arts) and SOFA, (Sculptural Objects and Functional Art) as well as various local exhibitions and conferences. These travels raised my expectations for my art and inspired me to strive to create the highest quality professional work in my field.

Finding harmony and relaxation while on the potter's wheel, I focus totally on the present and the craft of throwing, knowing that a second's distraction or inattention could result in the collapse of my extreme forms.  Challenging myself to build a vocabulary of various shapes and scales that will act as a canvas for my designs, each of my vessels are individually designed and executed to reflect my passion for high craft married with contemporary expression.

My work concentrates on precision vessels whose exterior forms have been mathematically pierced to create an interest to the interior. Attracting the viewer's gaze and sense of touch through the ever-changing relationship between light and dark, solid and permeable, smooth and rough, these vessels offer spiritual illumination through contemplation.
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