What I've been up to by Katelyn Gettner

As some of you may know I graduated from undergrad school in May of 2015. Over the course of the year that's followed I've moved, started two new jobs, lost my father, and lived without a studio atmosphere that was workable for me. Luckily I've fallen into a studio space arrangement with access to kilns and I'm well on my way to developing new ideas, exploring familiar concepts with new ways, and reacquainting myself with the lovely porcelain slip I know and adore. Here are some things that I am working on that will be available on my online shop (still in the development stage) sometime later this month or early July 2016



4/9/2014 by Katelyn Gettner

This post I thought I would touch base briefly on some of the processes I utilize to produce my work in a few different ways. 


At at the moment I work with a high fire porcelain clay body that can be fired in both reduction and oxidation depending on the piece. Decorations on the pieces are generally done after trimming, before bisque firing, or after bisque firing.

The first images contain a pink foam object or form that had been milled out on a CNC router. A mold is taken of this form and it will be slip cast, modeled, decorated with underglaze and fired before a final glaze firing. The images below show just one example of how a mold could possibly be taken off this object. 

The  images following represent the basic process of how my thrown work is produced.

I usually start with a drawn profile of on or several pieces to keep in mind as I throw; after wedging several balls of clay I start by centering and pulling the clay into a cylinder. After the appropriate height is obtained I form the curves of the piece through a series's of hand working and ceramic tooling. I approach this step very intuitively because the motion of the clay is very important to me in applying a sort of fluidity. Next I refine the form through trimming following by attachments and underglaze decoration that I keep loose like an impression. This simultaneously allows me to be very gestural as well as allow for the opportunity to layer further detail through china paint and glaze application.  There are several examples of how I decorate my pieces with underglaze below towards the end of the slider. 


3/26/2014 by Katelyn Gettner

One if the wonderful advantages to attending the ceramics program at the Kansas City Art Institute is the opportunity to explore the Ken Ferguson collection that has amassed over the years through student donations. 

This collection can be exceptionally inspiring because the ability to identify between yourself as a student and these other works is heightened because it becomes much more easy for yourself to image the other artists as once having been a student. The collection itself also pushes an artist to rate their level of professionalism against another student's work to ask themselves if they are really taking their work as seriously has they should regardless of their status as a student. 

For me, at least. 

Every so often we are encouraged to pursue the shelves and cabinets to find a piece that is particularly striking or inspirational to us and to work to identify what it is about that specific piece that heightens our experience of it. 

Most recently I selected a beautiful piece left behind by ceramist Steven Heinemann when he himself was studying at the Kansas City Art Institute. Heinemann's work, according to a statement he released, focuses on the space of a piece and how that space an be concentrated, whether internally or externally, and through which means that distinction can be achieved. 

Steven Heinemann

What attracts me most about this piece is the obvious display of the process of the creation with the piece by periodically moving a plaster mold to build up the delicate layers of slip. This process really lends itself to the overall form of the piece by accentuating the obvious strength and work-ability of the ceramic medium as well as highlighting on the inventive versatility that can be found in clay through reexamining the ways in which as an artist we work. 

I also am attracted to the subtly of the form pared with the light color gradient created during the slip casting process because it works in a way that I think has since become very important to Heinemann's work; by this I mean that by utilizing the gradient from the rim of the piece into the interior, the color works to draw your eye into the piece rather than out of away from the piece creating a defined space. 

Steven Heinemann

Lastly what ultimately attracts me to this particular piece aside from the considerations and process applied, the apparent fragility of the piece requires me to openly address my personal interaction with the piece. So often vessel's in ceramics can be seen as a commentary on domesticity and function but I think to make a piece like this particular one works to make an artist reevaluate the moment

By moment I'm not referring to something so vague as each time the piece in used. No, what I am referring to the is the first moment you piece up a ceramic object to experience its weight and capabilities, more specifically Heinemann's piece is so light and delicate that all thought of function or purpose exits the building when it sits in your hands because it honestly kind of makes me feel like a fumbling giant trying to not crush an eggshell. The piece becomes almost an experience in an or itself and that is something that really fascinates me to no end. 

Steven Heinemann

2/26/2014 by Katelyn Gettner

The combination of Glass and Ceramics as a means
of artistic expression in studio practice

Jessamy Kelly

A thesis submitted in partial fulfilment of the requirements for
the degree of
Doctor of Philosophy
University of Sunderland

When I was searching online, as I often do, to gleam bits of precious information from others who find themselves desiring to combine ceramic and glass together, I stumbled across an article on an out of the way blog about a recent graduate named Jessamy Kelly. “The combination of glass and ceramics as a means of artistic expression in studio practice,” at first I assumed the author had taken her time to complete  a large thesis project in cold working glass and ceramics together. This is not the case.

I repeat this is not the case.

Dr. Kelly has based her thesis project off of the desire to combine glass and ceramics together in the hot state, fusing the two similar materials together in much the same way that a ceramics major would fuse thin layers of frit onto the outside of pots and call it glaze.

Woah. Just Woah. There’s no way that more people can’t possibly already know about this, especially since her dissertation in available for download offline. The implications of her research that culminated into success are staggering, not just to me, but surely to others as well. Centuries have passed with artists questing to combine these two materials and it has long since been ingrained that it is simply not possibly. And now this genius of a lady tells us we’re wrong?!

I know for a fact that this is going to greatly skew the forward trajectory of my path in my career and I cannot wait to get started!

Wedge Cast Milk Glass, Dr. Jessamy Kelly

2/12/2014 by Katelyn Gettner

This karafe that I recently found embodies things I both enjoy and dislike. On one hand the combination of the form with the transparency attract me in a way that ceramics cannot because of the added abilites of the glass of the piece. The intention is for you to be able to see the interior liquid which calls to question the function of the piece. Why put a dark uninventive liquid into this karafe when a clear liquid spiced up with myriad of different options like ice cubes frozen with lavender in them or fruit sliced up and placed in water would be so much more attractive?

What I do not find attractive about the form is the use of the gold luster paired with the black handle. The piece would have looked better with silver add-ons because visually the gold feels much heavier and warmed than the silver would.

Even though I dislike some of the aspects of this piece it is still important to me because it greatly informs me on aspects on my own personal aesthetic. 

While the form does not entirely appeal to me, the overall aesthetic of this container that I do find attractive lies in the basic nature of glass.

2/12/2014 by Katelyn Gettner

Visual forms of communication are essential to an artists toolbox in a a way that other forms of communication can sometimes have difficulty contending with. Sometimes I think the difference between these forms can be the expectation placed on them, for example visual information seems more subject to inference than written communication which can often be taken on a more literal stance. Though this creates a disconnect between the two there are ways of addressing this issue; in particular poetry. Poetry often can rely on the reader to read past the visual words of the poem and examine other ascepts in a way that can be very similar to sight reading a painting. Poetry is often used as a way to extrapolate on the baser human emotions like lust or fear or hate or love and the nuances of how these emotions can turn or curb our behavior one way or another.

A poem that I find encompasses these abilities quite well the ‘Anyone lived in a pretty how town’ by E.E. Cummings.

anyone lived in a pretty how town
(with up so floating many bells down)
spring summer autumn winter
he sang his didn’t he danced his did

Women and men(both little and small)
cared for anyone not at all
they sowed their isn’t they reaped their same
sun moon stars rain

children guessed(but only a few
and down they forgot as up they grew
autumn winter spring summer)
that noone loved him more by more

when by now and tree by leaf
she laughed his joy she cried his grief
bird by snow and stir by still
anyone’s any was all to her

someones married their everyones
laughed their cryings and did their dance
(sleep wake hope and then)they
said their nevers they slept their dream

stars rain sun moon
(and only the snow can begin to explain
how children are apt to forget to remember
with up so floating many bells down)

one day anyone died i guess
(and noone stooped to kiss his face)
busy folk buried them side by side
little by little and was by was

all by all and deep by deep
and more by more they dream their sleep
noone and anyone earth by april
wish by spirit and if by yes.

Women and men(both dong and ding)
summer autumn winter spring
reaped their sowing and went their came
sun moon stars rain

Aside from the poem seeming to relate to domesticity which usually plays a prominent role on my work, the ways that the poem can be interpreted plays a role in pushing me to examine my work on different levels and how the relationship between me and my work may be different from the relationship of my work with the audience or viewers or users.

For example :

The poem could be about two characters who dare to be different and the indifference of their fellow characters.

Or, the poem could expand to include all of society and focus primarily on the lack of creativity, love, and basically individualism as a result of conformity.

But, the poem could also be taken as an examination of ones capacity to connect with life and the idea that most dream but never live, while some live but ultimately die. This could be generalized to explain the idea that life is a horrifying experience and conformity and structure numbs the affects.

Lastly, this poem could be about the fading of passion and love and as we grow older.

And in much the same way my work could be about functionality but also utilizing the narrative in imagery or non-functional without narrative imagery allowing the form itself to become a narrative