David Zdrazil

Artist Statement

Organized chaos, the beauty of imperfection and the overlapping of spontaneity and control are common themes in my work. I combine inspirations from the natural world with established ceramic styles to create an aesthetic that reflects my own life experience and values. I often describe this as “chunky style” not only for its appearance, but for the conceptual mixtures that it consists of.

Sustainability and collaborative group efforts like wood firing influence the work I make. “Truth to materials” is a theme that is found throughout my work- the “clayness” of the clay can be smooth, chunky, flowing, cracking, pure and unrefined all at once. I develop glazes and clay bodies that often include local natural materials in order to make a connection to my environment. I prefer to use wood fired kilns for my work because of the rich surfaces produced by the atmosphere. I feel that the laborious process somehow infuses the work with more value and integrity.

I use geometric ratios, textures, and processes that elude to my interactions with the world around me. The familiar vessel forms I make allow for interaction and function while relating to the ancient and elemental parts of ceramics. The aesthetic of my work might transcend a literal message while it embraces serendipitous moments in life and the creative process.

-- David Zdrazil


David Zdrazil (pronounced DRAY-zel) makes a variety of ceramic objects that blend historic and contemporary aesthetics while crossing boundaries between art and craft. His work is often wood fired and makes use of locally found materials.

Originally from St. Croix County Wisconsin, he studied art at the University of Wisconsin Eau Claire and earned an M.F.A. at the University of North Texas. His work has been exhibited and published internationally. As part of his ceramics practice, he designs and builds innovative kilns that use a variety of fuels.

Zdrazil currently lives and works in Eureka, California where he teaches at College of the Redwoods and shares a home studio with his wife Shannon Sullivan.

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