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I am a clay artist living in northern California.
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I am interested in happenstance in the ordinary world—in patterns that develop naturally, unexpectedly, and often fleetingly. I then work within the system of the pattern and grow it, seeing how it responds to the surface and form of the clay object. I imbue this initial idea with depth and memory by taking it through many methods of clay-forming: carving, slip-casting, and press-molding. Recently I have been interested in traditional wood-chip carving, and the types of geometric, triangle-based patterns that are used in that tradition. I riffed on these traditional patterns, and carved the surface of wheel-thrown pots with my own systems of patterning based on those traditional patterns. From those carved pieces, I created molds for slip-casting. In the slip-casting process, I was fascinated by how the sharp, angular patterning of the molds created pieces with crisp, graphic outer surfaces and soft, organically bulbous interior surfaces. I then used those slip-casting molds as press molds, creating parts that I composed into individual hand-built pots. This last iteration introduced an imperfect, human touch to the forms that contrasts with the geometric patterning. In addition to introducing my touch back into the process, I also pulled in other organic matter for patterning—a spruce branch, the head of a flower, sand from the nearby beach, etc. In these forms I am investigating how I can seesaw between tight, geometric patterning and more organic surfaces that show evidence of my hand. I am interested in how repetition and reworking can translate and obfuscate an idea, but also how this can give birth to new, strange ideas that can only be born in this manner.
In my jewelry, I have been exploring similar concepts, in a simplified format. Starting with geometric shapes—rectangles, squares, and spheres, I gently squeeze these shapes between my fingers, thus softening edges and leaving the texture of my fingerprints. I have been including sand in my jewelry pieces as well, which has been a way to create simple patterns on the surface. Jewelry introduces another interesting component—that of balance. By suspending forms into space from the neck or the ear, I have explored how the weights of components affect each other, playing with cantilevering and movement.
I create pottery and ceramic jewelry—common and unassuming objects that are meant to be touched, used, and worn daily. I am interested in intimacy, in creating art objects that have no barrier between the object and the viewer. I love to make cups, which are the most intimate art objects. They are the only pieces of art that you put in your mouth. By creating personal objects that hold the history of my thought and touch, I hope to inject this thought into the daily rituals of people’s lives. The viewer can run their fingers across the carved, molded, and pinched surfaces creating a palimpsest of their touch over mine.

Current Work
Work image 1
Clamshell Box
Work Image 4
Zig Zag Necklace
Work image 2
Cylindrical Vase
Work image 3
Black Sand Swing Earrings
Websites and Social Media
Upcoming Events
General Info
Jillian Blackwell Ceramics
Studio Address
Use main address for studio
Phone Contact
ACGA social media suport, Editing and proofing