Eric Ordway

Artist Statement

My work explores a foundational urge to create through the lens of my faith. I examine Judeo-Christian art theory concepts through functional pottery. Ancient cultures used the term “doxa” to mean both “belief” and “glory.” These dual definitions appear in contemporary ideas of orthodoxy--“a true belief”--and doxology--“an expression of praise.” Each vessel presents the new and old doxa: columns reach for boldness to approach the Creator, bowls long to serve, cups seek to commune, and platters embody the process of life. These themes are expressed through simple ceramic forms, my touch as a maker in the materiality of the work, and how the clay bears all the marks of the process. Doxa reminds us of timeless truths: that the glorious can be found in the mundane, the divine in the common.

The work consists of stoneware clay that has been fired at high temperatures in atmospheric and gas kilns. This surface treatment exhibits the transition of flame and ash across the vessel. Putting the kiln into a heavy reduction encourages the dark colors that contrasts the subtleties of the flashing slips and glazes. The drama of these surfaces are used as a metaphor, that of a relationship with a Divine Mystery. Each shift and transition of the flame is recorded on the pot as it holds this metaphor of the Divine in my life.

-- Eric Ordway


Eric Ordway (b. 1984) was born and raised near Columbia, MO. He was first exposed to ceramics at Moberly Area Community College. He continued studying ceramics at Colorado State University-Pueblo, where he found a connection to soda firing and functional pottery. After graduating with a BFA in ceramics, Eric moved back to Columbia to work as a post-baccalaureate student at the University of Missouri. While there, he researched sgraffito techniques in his functional work and green glazing in soda kilns.

Eric then moved on to work as a resident artist at Morean Center for Clay in St. Petersburg, FL. There he began firing wood kilns of differing designs. He also took on the responsibilities of a studio technician, gallery attendant, ceramics instructor, and show curator. During this time he also taught upper division students ceramics at Berkeley Preparatory School in Tampa, FL.

Eric returned to Columbia to pursue a Masters of Fine Art. Back at the University of Missouri, Eric experimented with a variety of technical processes, primarily focusing on expressive wheel thrown pottery. He fired work in atmospheric wood and soda kilns. His research eventually led him to the body of selected functional and expressive works exhibited in his thesis show Doxa: Prayerful Pots at the George Caleb Bingham Gallery. Eric has exhibited his work in juried and invitational shows both on a regional and national level.

Eric Ordway currently lives in Columbia, MO with his wife and dog, Cisco. He is a Lecturer of Ceramics at Truman State University, in Kirksville, MO.