Emma Kaye

Artist Statement

The vessel form, both diverse and abstract in its meaning, serves as an intermediary object between humans and our surroundings. They are integral to our relationship with the landscape, ourselves and other living creatures. They reflect the ideologies and beliefs of their maker through their material presence and intended use. 

My incentive to work with clay is rooted in a feeling connection to the material, whose sovereignty and character intend to honor. Each stage of its transformation offers a new opportunity for physical expression. When the clay is moist and workable, I inflate the form, capturing its soft and yielding nature. As it dries and stiffens, the planes and edges are crisped and leveled. While forms speak to function, they claim an excessively voluminous and sculptural presence. The method of hollow construction affords this visual illusion of an impossibly thick ceramic object. 

Wood firing serves as a tool for mark-making, enhancing my surfaces in a quiet yet dynamic way.  The palette yielded from down firing has the potential to offer a color range that exudes both coolness and warmth. While the materials are set in motion by my intention, the results are a record of an event that honors their elemental behavior.

Within this cycle of forming and firing, there is space to be continually introspective about my process, materials, and environment. I assess the quality of my results through the balance and subtlety of an array visual contradictions related to the piece's material and conceptual nature. If I am successful, the object will morph beyond binary definitions and enter liminal space, fostering a nuanced and inclusive dialogue through its display and use.


Born in Brooklyn, New York and raised in Southwestern Connecticut, Emma spent much of her childhood roaming the wetlands and shores of Long Island Sound. Her fascination with clay began in her early life and continued into college. She began her career in ceramics after graduating with her BFA from Pratt Institute in 2014. She worked as a production potter at a high volume dinnerware company and assisted other potters and artists working with clay throughout New York City. Emma taught and ran ceramics classes and workshops for adults and children through non-profits, public schools, and community spaces in New York City and Philadelphia. In addition to teaching, Emma maintains an active studio practice of her own. She was a sponsored participant at craft schools throughout the US and earned her post baccalaureate at Syracuse University, where she led her own wood firings and continued the development of her work under the mentorship of the Ceramics faculty. Currently, Emma lives and works in Southeastern Pennsylvania where she assists with and participates in wood firings locally. Emma is inspired by the sense of community, generosity, and curiosity that so often surrounds the wood kiln