Claire Thibodeau ( She/Her )

Artist Statement

Within my practice I strive to achieve a system where the labor of making is reflective - where the piece materializes the labor of the process, and the use embodies a historically grounded domestic or ritualistic tradition. The finished piece and the moments of use capture familiar meanings of both beauty and practicality.

Ceramic art carries a symbolic resonance - objects of use naturally become symbols of meaning. By combining this with my deep love for history of craft, pattern, banal domesticity, and fiber arts, I work towards creating congenial domestic forms that capture a celebratory nature. These vessels, grounded in the past, take on new life as they are rethought and remade - recreated through a medium that carries with it its own elements of significance. Although there are many ways of capturing moments of time, ceramics creates a tangible and physical method of catching the moments of touch and gesture.

I find ceramics fascinating as a medium because of its playful characteristics. Conceptually ceramics questions the permanence and impermanence of being, remembrance, and touch. Ceramics embodies the past while providing for infinite possibilities for the future. A piece could be formed with clay and traditionally fired, but then in a fleeting moment dropped, losing its purpose, function, significance, and returning to its original formlessness. I find this sense of transience beautiful, and often reflect on each moment of meaning being embedded in these highly detailed, repetitive, and soft formed pieces.

Through various avenues I try to give tangible form to creative labor, combining moments of memory with shared domestic meaning. I hope to stimulate the curiosity of the viewer as they reflect on the embedded movements and touches that I have produced in the object’s construction, while also feeling a sense of familiarity within these fiber arts inspired domestic vessels. As my work evolves, I continue to immerse myself in the symbolic concept of clay while also exploring other mediums and the possibilities they bring.


Claire Thibodeau is a ceramic artist and designer based in Ferndale, MI. She currently is an Adjunct Professor of Ceramics at the College for Creative Studies in Detroit, MI. Her practice focuses on a range of interests balanced between sculptural and functional design. She utilizes many methods of slip-casting, hand building, and wheel throwing to create large scale vessels, ornate casted wall pieces, and functional wares. She received an MFA from Cranbrook Academy of Art in Spring of 2022 based in sculptural Ceramics.  She received a BFA from Alfred University with a concentration in Ceramics in 2015. Her residencies and teaching experience has expanded to locations across the country including Haystack Mountain School of Craft, Arrowmont School for Arts and Crafts, Sonoma Community Center, and Union Project.