Jonathan Kaplan

Artist Statement

I make a variety of ceramic objects that celebrate both form and surface. I am not bound by any constraint in method or material, nor am I bound by any strict adherence to utility.

My hands use many ways to create work; either assisted in some way by a method or procedure such as slip casting or pressing, or unassisted, using throwing or hand building. Often times, my ceramic work utilizes a combination. I have a very deep vocabulary of techniques that allow my imagination to run unbound by preconception or historical imperative. The possibilities for creative endeavor are truly unlimited.

Major influences upon my work are architecture and geometry. The majority of my ceramics can be viewed as vessel specific and all deal with ideas associated with containment. Strict utility or function may only be a reference derived from a specific shape or form. Sometimes I also integrate industrial parts and fittings to create a visual dialog between work that evidences the handmade and manufactured parts.

I have made a diverse body of work for most of my career. I am driven to make objects that are both highly designed and impeccably crafted. I look in awe at the symmetries of culture and am humbled by what remains as historical evidence in ceramics. With an acknowledgment of that deep history of ceramics, I endeavor to make choices in my work that will continue to engage and interest me as well as others. I am honored to be a part of this continuum. I constantly reinvent my work by challenging myself. My studio practice has evolved over many years and it is important to always include others with me on this journey.


Jonathan Kaplan has enjoyed a career in the ceramic arts for over 40 years. He earned his BFA from Rhode Island School of Design followed by an MFA from Southern Illinois University at Edwardsville. Jonathan has worked as a production potter, university educator, ceramic artist, as well as a professional mold and model maker, ceramic designer and a manufacturer. He has written extensively for Ceramics Monthly, Pottery Making Illustrated, Ceramics Technical, Ceramics: Art and Perception, and Studio Potter. His work has been featured in the Lark Book series “500 Vases,” the “Best of 500 Ceramics,” and the new “500 Teapots”.

Jonathan serves on the board of Studio Potter, curates Plinth Gallery in Denver Colorado, and is Instructor of Record at Adams State College. He describes his lengthy career in the ceramic arts not only as a “serendipitous confluence of events, but one of hard work, dedication, an constantly reinventing himself.”