Eric Ordway

Artist Statement

I ruminate on encounters with doxology, fantasy, and family as my vessels take form. My work celebrates the qualities found in common experiences; I research objects from my family’s farm, like a camping coffee pot that brought my aunts and uncles together in the morning or a ceramic drainage tile my grandfather used while working the fields.

Working with my hands is a sacred experience. I create tension in my work by using repurposed tools from my time in the construction trades. With a tiling trowel carving into the soft clay, I capture the feeling of plow-scraped fields. My control of the form balances the rough texture of the surface.

Through simple ceramic vessels and my touch as a maker, I manifest a contemplative experience, connection to my family, and a celebration of the workmanship of the trades. My work evokes a timeless truth: the glorious can be found in the mundane, the divine in the common.


Eric Ordway (b. 1984) was born and raised near Columbia, MO. He was first exposed to pottery at Moberly Area Community College in 2006. After taking a break from school, Eric continued to study clay while attending Colorado State University-Pueblo, in Pueblo, CO. After graduating with his BFA in 2013, Eric began working as a post-baccalaureate student at the University of Missouri (MU). While there, he made soda-fired pottery while researching green glazing and sgraffito techniques. In 2015, Eric worked as a resident artist at Morean Center for Clay. During his time in Florida, Eric also taught ceramics to students at Berkeley Preparatory School, where he discovered his passion for teaching. Eric then returned to MU, and earned his MFA in 2019, where he researched thrown and altered techniques that he continues to practice in his studio.

Eric exhibits his work at the national and international levels. He currently works as the Ceramic Studio and Residency Manager at Access Arts in Columbia, MO. Where he lives with his wife, Chelsea, and their dog, Lily.