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Deborah Schwartzkopf


Here is a bit about me and my Studio.

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Deborah Schwartzkopf


Here is a bit about me and my Studio.

I am full time studio potter working in Seattle, WA.  
My distinct approach to making pottery blends wheel throwing and slab building. I combine the clean lines of modern architecture and the asymmetry of the natural world within each hand-made vessel. I hope the forms and surfaces focus your attention on the moments and objects that accent your day-to-day. Serve your food beautifully!

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Inspiration


Where do ideas come from?

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Inspiration


Where do ideas come from?

ARTIST STATEMENT

I find it rewarding and challenging to make pots people will use. In my home growing up, hand made objects held special value. They were gestures of consideration and love. I continue to find objects a dwelling place for intention and association. The parameter of function both limits and frees me. It gives me direction and attaches me to community. Eating with family and friends instills a sense of place and relation. At the table I assess finished work and connect studio practice to living. This starts the cycle of making again. I want my pots to live in the kitchen where economy and celebration infuse life with purposeful beauty.

The processes I use yield complex forms defined by animated lines and soft planes. Multiple parts are pieced together. At times I combine wheel thrown and hand built parts. At others a singular method is used. The slab parts are patterned and laid over bisqued clay molds. I build these molds with reclaimed clay and shape them with the wheel or by coiling building. I find they give me the ability to make slab pieces with consistent volume. When I first approached hand building I had complicated patterns for every shape. Over time I have simplified patterns. With practice the process has become nimble and intuitive. This is freeing to me. Simple patterns are easier to augment and develop into new forms. I find refinement like a glacier moving down a valley: troublesome areas are meditatively eroded away and new ideas spring to mind. Slow practice yields fluidity in process, allowing me to shift focus to formal elements, intentional references, and how a pot will feel or fit into life.

Pots are a place where I embrace abstraction of emotions and communication in form. Birds are starting places in my study of stance and expression. I want to capture their expressions of precision and breath. The awkward pelican and elegant, buoyant loon embody curious shapes I mesh with geometric, sensual, and architectural elements. On the surfaces of my work, I merge our culture’s signals and nature’s placement of hue. Even in the Seattle winter, humming birds flash and scoot for nectar from my rosemary bush. Traffic lights illuminate the night, demanding attention as I bike through the city. With intentional placement, these visual messages imply function, trigger associations, and call for exploration. I find the relationship between form and surface integral and defining. Each informs the other within my cyclic studio practice.

The reciprocal relationship between my work and my life is unfolding; my chosen pathway in clay directs my life. As I strive for balance, the lessons I transfer from biking or gardening enrich my studio practice. Time with family and friends feed my inner life. I am gathering and truing my ideas, process, and dreams.

 
Signals

Signals

Coloration

Coloration

Momentum

Momentum

Function

Function

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Path


"A man travels the world over in search of what he needs and returns home to find it." George A Moore

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Path


"A man travels the world over in search of what he needs and returns home to find it." George A Moore

My Path to being a Potter ~

Deborah Schwartzkopf was born and raised in Seattle, WA.  From 1999-2002 she earned her BA at the University of Alaska and worked for professional studio potters in the Anchorage area. The combination of learning at a university and as a studio assistant granted a rounded education. She did a one year independent study at San Diego State University studying glaze chemistry and developing her own glaze palette in earnest. Deb was an artist-in-residence at the Archie Bray Foundation from 2005-2007, after right receiving her MFA from Penn State. Since then she has taught as a visiting professor at Ohio University in Athens, Ohio, Massachusetts College of Art and Design in Boston, and the University of Washington in Seattle and with the University of Georgia in their Study Abroad Program in Cortona, Italy. In addition, she has exhibited and taught numerous workshops nationally and internationally. She has also been a resident artist at the Center for Ceramics in Berlin Germany, Mudflat Studios in Somerville, MA, and The Clay Studio in Philadelphia, PA. In 2010 Deb returned to Seattle and made work and taught at  Pottery Northwest for two years. She bought a house in the Seattle area in 2013. Check out Rat City Studios (formerly known as Ceramistas Seattle) her studio, where she is developing a studio assistant program, teaching weekly classes and weekend workshops. I am thrilled to be establishing my studio in the area!
 

RESUME

Follow this link to detailed resume

 
Workshop Demo
Penn State Alumni
university of alaska

Ceramistas Seattle Kiln Yard: Progress

Ceramistas Seattle Kiln Yard: Progress

House & Kiln Yard

What a huge step forward to have a long term home and to have a studio!  The house and studio were purchased April 2013. I ran a Kickstarter Campaign (crowd-funding) Project to help get the kiln yard up and running.  It was an amazing show of support from our local and far reaching communities!  See the gallery on the right for images of the building project in process! I am very pleased with the result and how well it works within the studio flow now.

Studio Assistant: Learn More

Studio Assistant: Learn More

Learning

I had an amazing experience both in my formal education and working for local potters.  Together they gave me a strong foundation in clay.  I learned how to meet deadlines, talk about my work, studio practice, efficiency, and making life my work of art.  Now I offer a studio assistant position in my space.  This position changes with each person I work with.  It is a work trade relationship. To learn more follow the link to the left...