Artist Talks

Artists from our 23rd San Angelo National Ceramic Competition discuss their work in our new SAMFA Virtual Series Artist Talks. 

Click Here to view the Ceramic Competition Online Gallery.

Click Here to View In the Clay Kitchen With Ginger Geyer.


Margaret Henkels, Austin, TX, Handle Box, Slab built earthenware with glazes, slips, and stains, 3 x 8 x 7 inches 

"I am interested in the passage of time and in the possibilities of transformation. I mark a moment by creating an object and a space. The material I work with used to be something else: water dripping on rock produced clay. As I work with it, it becomes something else again.

My method of building reflects my fascination with the permissions and limitations of architecture, as well as a preoccupation with the possibilities and vagaries of traditional ceramic forms. The surfaces refer to the subtle gradations of color and stony surfaces I seek in a landscape. To me the works are both a place of rest and a mode of transportation to another world."


 Eric and Morgan Grasham, Denton, TX, Bearing Service, Ceramics, inclusion stains, polyurethane foam, resin, mixed media, 68 x 28 x 34 inches

"This collaborative work was made in response to our residency in west Texas, where we worked as a ceramicist and a taxidermist. Both of us were making objects which were meant to recall and maintain personal narratives that interpreted relationships to our environment.

The ceramic forms contain landscapes created by combining dozens of colored clay bodies, representing the development of habitats into domesticated spaces. The forms are influenced by ornamental designs which throughout history have idealized, represented, and replaced biodiversity in constructed human spaces. Taxidermy functions in much the same way. The combination of media underlines this function in both, and asks us to consider how our desire for communion with wildlife often produces complicated and unpredictable outcomes." -Artists' Statement

Video posted from Artist's YouTube Channel 


 Suzanne Kane, Las Cruces, NM, Desert Monsoon, Welded steel with stoneware, 16 x 16 x 16 inches 

"The Chihuahua Desert amazes me; despite a harsh climate and severe drought the landscape is filled with weird and wonderful growing things. My current work is inspired by unusual seeds and structural plants that endure and survive in the Southwest. The sculptural plants I build are about resilience, persistence, toughness, durability, tenacity and adaptability." -Artist's Statement

Video posted from KRWGnews YouTube Channel and is part of the Living Here series 




Juliane Shibata, Northfield, MN, Still Lifes Porcelain, underglaze, underglaze pencil, glaze, real roses, 36 x 36 x 3 inches

"My most recent installations investigate the contrast between the transience of nature and the relative stability of fired ceramics, in beauty that can be both ephemeral and enduring. Working at the intersection of the natural and the constructed, I integrate real flowers with ceramic materials. These pieces, which thus incorporate actual, lived time and elements of decay, allude to memento mori and seek to create an awareness of the fleeting nature of our existence in contrast to the persistence of porcelain." -Artist Statement

 Video Posted from MN Original YouTube Channel, This profile was produced by Twin Cities PBS last year




Nicholas Sevigney, Holderness, NH Cup & Cistern, Cone 02 oxidation earthenware, wood, rubber tube, plastic 10 x 9 x 6 inches

"This work combines the forms and textures from science fiction movies, Trompe L’oiel aspect of Yixing tea ware, discarded coffee cup lids, exhaust vents and distressed and dilapidated metal. I find these loaded images speak of the daily wear on manmade disposable products that remain in the environment for centuries. The addition of mixed media layers (rubber tubing, plastic, epoxy resin) make the device seem inefficient and obscure with drips and stains suggesting leaking joints and connections. Like an ancient broken or damaged relic, I want to encourage the viewer to explore and question the potential function of each piece. The combination of all these elements adds timelessness to the work leaving the viewer wondering if it is from the future or of the past.

Video posted from Artist's YouTube Channel 


Beth Shook, Gilbert, AZ, Captivated by the Details, Clay, wood, found objects, 26 x 23.75 x 4 inches

"Clay provides the most immediate way to tell my story visually as it responds to manipulation. As the narrative continues, and the images develop, the surface becomes my focus. Most often in layers of slips and glaze, pushed and pulled onto the drawn, stamped or textured clay. The story begins to take shape, the drawing more a part of the clay surface, the clay more a part of the narrative. I include found objects and various other mediums to aid in the story telling process, furthering the overlap of color, texture and image."



Nasrin Iravani Tuscaloosa, AL, Graceful, Porcelain, 26 x 22 x 18 inches  

"In exploring feminine narratives in aesthetics, politics, history, and personal experiences, I use the concept of art as a tool to address contemporary women’s rights and concerns. My work,with symbols and signs of traditional Iranian art, is attempting to showcase some of the history and culture of my country that gives me a sense of identity, tranquility, and confidence. I use elements such as asymmetry, color contrast, and the simultaneous presentation of the inside and the outside of some of my pieces to convey my own conflicts with Iran's traditional ways, especially regarding the role of women. While incorporating signs of traditional and contemporary art, I strive to reflect the view that the relationship between tradition and modernity needs to be continuously reconsidered." -Artist Statement



Shannon Blakey, Columbia, MO, peeling layers too, cast porcelain, 3 x 4 x 3 inches 

"In this recent work, I have been interested in the interplay between human-made objects and nature itself and the push and pull between the two. In this work specifically, it was my interest to combine water lines from my own home along with fragments from reclaimed chunks of nature in order to show the cyclical order of one action to another. In creating this work I was interested in processing my my own role within the larger whole. It is my hope that the work created is both something visually interesting and texturally compelling; something that would prompt someone to look, but eventually draw them to touch the work and question why certain decisions were made.

I am mining and reforming objects found in my own life in order to investigate current culture. All of these selected objects, man made or natural, existed within my daily life as a result of me simply trying to live it, but were selected for both aesthetic and symbolic reasons." -Artist Statement