"As I apply pressure to the clay and bring it to center, I also bring myself to center. This is the true joy of my work. The stress and distortions put into each piece reflect the world as I see it. Growth, change, conflict, and entropy are my inspiration. By expressing these feelings in clay I find balance and discover who I am amidst these greater forces. "
Ceramic artist Ben Howort creates forms and patterns, which reflect duality, paradox, and the ambiguity found in urban landscapes. As a native New Yorker, Howort is inspired by the quiet beauty of nature fighting for its place in the city. Beautifully asymmetrical, his vessels are balanced by patterns, which both collide and co-exist in the same breath.
Howort's process, while rooted in the tradition of pottery, is actually quite modern. He uses an electric heat gun, which enables him to manipulate clay in ways it would otherwise not tolerate. Graceful lines and distortions are put into a very wet pot and then quickly set before the point of collapse. Glazes and wax resist are used to create patterns, taking up to a week to complete a single piece.
Ben Howort began studying ceramics while earning his BA in Fine Arts at Grinnell College. During this time Howort apprenticed with Urban Folk Potter Claire Weissberg at her studio in Brooklyn. He also studied with ceramic artist Janine Sopp. Upon graduation , Howort was awarded a post-baccalaureate fellowship, which concluded with a solo show at the Smith Gallery. The artist now lives and works in Brooklyn.
Selected Exhibitions & Awards
Fruits of a Shadow Life, Grinnell, Iowa, USA, Smith Gallery, 2009