Ellen Kleckner ( she / her )

Artist Statement

Through a convergence of materials, I seek to understand connections between place, materiality, idea, legacy and community. My work utilizes the visual and mechanical vocabulary of makers and craftspeople, joining parts to create completed forms that provoke agencies of their utility, questioning which is recognizable. Systems of joinery serve as a means of exploring the binary of material/artist/concept. Unlikely combinations of joined media such as ceramics/wood/steel/reed actively illustrate the tension between these dualistic materials. 

My pieces are joined with tension, allowing the materials to be separated in the future without compromise. Each of my pieces finds balance within its two-part system; materials become interdependent while maintaining individual integrity. This moment and method in which subjects meet creates a visual narrative depicting mutual reliance to hold the new form. My vessels are direct labor that speak of generosity, receptivity, and comfort. Rhythms of making are echoed in the rocking forms. Once grounded, these vessels repeat the intentions of their form, to comfort and contain, through their movement.

As complex as we have made our current world, the desire for connection is still at the forefront of our simplest of human needs.  The physical joinery that excites my creative process is reflected in the person-to-person relationships within a community.  As I continue to cultivate a community which allows for growth; my work articulates my desire to highlight the importance of joining with others, manifested through the physical forms and collaborative work.


Ellen Kleckner is an artist and educator based in Cedar Rapids, Iowa. Her artistic practice weaves together community engagement, material investigation, and collaboration. Ellen studied Ceramics at the Appalachian Center for Craft (BFA) and Ohio University (MFA). Ellen is the Executive Director of the Iowa Ceramics Center and Glass Studio, a non-profit community art center.