I find inspiration in the history of decorative ceramics moving beyond conventional function and form, creating union between shape, ornamentation, and story.
My previous body of work used a narrative of the dog and human relationship to communicate the internal sense of belonging and comfort formed through companionship. Large decorative pieces depicting imagery of the dog were used not to convey a specific animal, but instead a feeling and our innate desire to belong.
In creating this most recent series, I am exploring form and volume, and emphasizing surface with low relief patterns and texture. The layers of pattern call attention to the form, provide direction, and possess a visual softness and physical depth. I further connect this body of work to the history of decorative ceramics by incorporating gold luster details within the warm, floral patterns I paint.
This work is an exploration outside of the canine character in an effort to express ideas of comfort and joy through form, pattern, and surface. I am continually investigating how my surfaces provide challenge and satisfaction for me as a maker while providing an individual experience for the viewer. As an artist, incorporating pattern has inspired new approaches to materials and techniques, a profound level of control, and a curiosity about the relation between functional and decorative form. It is my hope that the patterns interact in a way that emphasize the form, breath, and presence of each individual piece.
-- Stephanie Wilhelm
Stephanie Wilhelm is a ceramic artist from Maryland. She received her BFA at Elizabethtown College and an MFA in 2018 from the University of Florida. For several years after college Stephanie taught classes and assisted visiting artist workshops at the Frederick Clay Studio in Frederick, Maryland. She received the 2017 NCECA Graduate Student Fellowship for her research on Bon Fresco combined with ceramics, which she conducted in Italy, and is a 2018-2019 Artist in Residence at the Arrowmont School of Arts and Crafts.