Visiting Ceramicist Ryan McKerley
The wheel forming ceramics class had a visiting artist, or as he puts it “craftsman”, Ryan McKerley come to do a demonstration. He is also a wheel forming ceramicist, in that the wheel is his primary method of making ceramics. He makes various types of functional ware, both that he sells individually and which he creates for bulk sale. Ryan is an Austin based artist that teaches as well as creates work. The technique that he primarily works with is water carving, which is a process that is done on pieces that are dry and about to go through their first firing in a kiln. He applies hot wax to parts of the piece which he wants to stand out more, and lets it dry. After letting it dry, he goes back over it with a wet sponge to remove the dry clay bit by bit to create relief in the piece, creating a very dynamic surface. He demonstrated this in the class as well as throwing techniques that he teaches at a school in Austin. Ryan McKerley is on the Art Axis website where many well known artists have their work displayed. He received his BFA from Abilene Christian University in West Texas, in 1995 he moved to Austin and started an apprenticeship under Billy Ray Magham. Now he teaches at Dougherty Arts Center and organizes the yearly art of the pot studio tour. Here is a quote from his artist statement: “Process is the main influence on my work. I use a technique called water carving that mimics erosion. I paint paraffin on my dry, unfired pots and then wash the surface with a very wet sponge. The possibilities of this technique helped to create the patterns and lines decorating my pots. I didn’t envision a style to seek out but was led to my current body of work by following this technique. Certain lines and shapes are possible in water carving and these are the lines and shapes in my work.” You can find him on his website at https://ryanmckerley.com/ and on instagram @ryanmckerley .