Maureen Mills "Moon Jar: Stories"
Materials: Stoneware, slip inlay, resist, and glaze,
Process: Wheelthrown and altered, woodfired
Dimensions: 11" h x 11" d
"I continue to explore the contradictions of layered surface techniques in the wood firing process, yielding ornamentation that appears to overflow the swelling surfaces of bold forms. Fired in a wood-burning kiln, the decorated surface may be nearly obliterated with melting ash, impacting the layers of glaze that are responsive to an enigmatic firing process. Form and pattern are united by the traces of fire and ash. The contribution of the firing itself to the finished piece yields a body of work that exemplifies a synthesis of ongoing European, Asian and American influences. Recent work examines the relationship between surface design and transitional language to create graphic imagery. Hand written text is incorporated as a compositional element inviting the viewer into each piece by establishing an immediate and identifiable sense of familiarity through the concept of language. A synonymous and universal experience is created through individual storytelling with the vessel form as a metaphor for the stories each of us holds and shares, both public and private, or even secret."
Maureen Mills, Portsmouth, NH
Maureen grew up with an interest in making things from sewing her own cloths to knitting blankets and sweaters. She didn’t discover clay until she was a sophomore at Knox College in Illinois, where she finished her degree in Chemistry but continued to pursue her passion for clay.
As a potter for more than 30 years now, her love of surface design is unwaveringly evident and well documented in her book Surface Design for Ceramics published by Lark Books in 2008. Her unquenchable interest in researching design led her to teaching, and when she is not on the road teaching workshops or in the classroom where she is faculty at the Institute of Art and Design at New England College in Manchester NH, she maintains a studio with her husband Steven Zoldak in Portsmouth New Hampshire.
Exhibiting her ceramic vessels nationally and internationally, her work has most recently been included in the 10th Gyeonggi International Ceramics Biennale in the Republic of South Korea. As a member of the International Symposium on Ceramic Art Education and Exchange, Maureen has taken groups of faculty and students to Japan, China, England and The Republic of South Korea where she presents her research on surface design, teaches workshops and gives demonstrations of her process.
Honored for her work in ceramics and her commitment to the New Hampshire artist community, she is a recipient of the New Hampshire Charitable Foundation’s Artist Advancement Grant and was awarded an Artist’s Fellowship in 2012 by the New Hampshire Council on the Arts. In 2014 she received the Alumni Achievement Award in Art from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln where she earned her Master of Fine Art degree in Ceramics and Drawing.
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