Elaine Buss

Artist Statement

I combine simple and historical forms with a contemporary approach to ceramic materials. My sources include ancient grinding stones, water pipes, crypt-wall bricks, tombs, vertical loom weights, arches, and building fragments, to name a few. Anthropological sources provide a place of empathy with past humans and a way to understand my own humanity more thoroughly. The circle is another foundation for my formal choices. It represents wholeness and infinity through its form and geometric symbolism.

I am interested in the "everything-ness" of simple forms, and I explore the endless potential available within this focus. The nondescript, ambiguous forms that I create relate to my own ineffable experience as a human; they remind me that it’s ok to exist in the space of the indeterminate. My work is my way of understanding my presence as a physical body and its relationship to invisible forces.

My forms are combined with an experimental, alchemical approach to melting raw materials together in the kiln. I push the boundaries between glaze, clay, and how a ceramic object should be “finished”. I often contrast durable and impermanent materials in my installations and sculptures; one is everlasting and the other is temporary. I hope to grasp how the intangible and empirical can exist in the same space, giving respect and credence to each other, while still maintaining their autonomy.

-- Elaine Buss


Elaine Buss received an MFA in Ceramics from The Ohio State University in 2018. Her metaphorical approach to materials has garnered multiple recognitions, including the 2019 Emerging Artist Award from Ceramics Monthly and Best in Show in the University of Montana’s International MFA Exhibition for her installation Wander | Wonder (2018). Recently, her work was featured in the Art Basel Miami edition of Create! Magazine. She has completed multiple long-term and short-term residencies, including at C.R.E.T.A.Rome in Rome, Italy. Elaine’s other awards include the Global Gateway Grant, The International Award for Visual and Performing Arts, both from Ohio State University, and an ArtistInc Fellowship from the Mid-America Arts Alliance in Kansas City, Missouri. She is currently a Career Resident at Belger Crane Yard Studios in Kansas City, Missouri, where she continues her material research and sculptural practice.