Nick DeVries Workshop
Title: Thrown and Altered Porcelain
Workshop dates: June 10th & 11th
Hotel Accommodations: Clarke Hotel. 314 W Main St, Waukesha, WI 53186
Workshop Overview: This two-day hands on workshop will focus on wheel thrown and altered forms in porcelain and will touch on aspects of design and function. Cone 6 glazes and glaze techniques will also be touched during the workshop.
Day one will open up with some conversations about design, clay and the language we use to talk about pots and how we can possibly expand the understanding of this visual vocabulary. Demos will begin as we start to cover some of the basic shapes I use for some of the more straightforward forms that I make. I will wrap up the morning demos with some trimming and finishing before the participants spend some time working on some cylinder forms that will be finished on the second day of the workshop. During the hands on period I will spend some one on one time with participants working on throwing structure and form. After lunch we will finish up with participant throwing and I will finish the day with an assemblage demo as I put together a flask or oil bottle.
Day two will start with a trimming and finishing demo and will lead into the participants finishing the work from day one. We will focus on rasping and carving the initial pieces to draw out unique lines, edges, and forms. As the work gets finished and ready to dry we will cover some ideas and approaches to glazing.
As part of the workshop I will be brining a number of handouts that will reference the work and topics that we cover in the two days. I will have a hand draw copy of sketches of some of the pots we will work on, a glaze reference and recipe sheet, and a handout on the elements and principles of design.
Most of my work originates on the potters wheel and are forms based in a tradition of function and use. I love how functional pots can draw people in; they can be disarming and unassuming in their overt statement of utility. Pots call out to be held, used, and examined, they have a certain amount of gravity to them.
My current body of work is made with porcelain and I often work in a reductive fashion, throwing heavier pieces, then altering, rasping and carving the work to reveal the final forms. I enjoy balancing large areas of subtle texture and color with small additions: stamps and other details that suggest widows and doorways. These forms and small details reference architecture and structure while the surfaces borrow from nature. Subtle textures suggest grass or bark; satin glazes and areas of micro crystalline glaze reference the random beauty of nature: lichens growing on a rock outcropping, the subtle coloration of river rock, the random intricacies of a leaf, half dried and colored from it’s fall transition.
My hope is to create work that draws the user in to a tactile and visual interaction that might elicit a response to these physical qualities. That perhaps a moment of contemplation, consciously or not, may happen as fingers and hands work over the finished pots.
Nick DeVries Bio
Nick DeVries has been working in ceramics for the past 14 years. He studied at St Johns University where, in 2001, he finished a Bachelors Degree in Art, with a concentration in painting and ceramics. Since his college years Nick has worked as a production potter for a Minneapolis bases pottery, taught courses at the Edina Art Center and Northern Clay Center, and has pursued his own studio ceramic work. In 2016 he moved his home and studio from Minneapolis to central MN to the town of Brainerd where he has set up his new studio.