Skip to main content Skip to footer

BENJAMIN QUINNO - Bachelor of Fine Arts Degree with a concentration in Ceramics

Wood fired place setting 

Artist Statement: "Flame Work"

Ben Quinno Flame Work explores the relationship between community and ceramics, exposing their codependency through history, process, and functional application. To accomplish this, I have created a series of table settings that induce a sense of elegance, intimacy, functionality, and community.

Growing up in my home, the dinner table was the focal point of the family. Sitting down together to a hot meal brought everyone into an environment conducive to conversation and sharing, creating a sense of belonging and community within our home. I chose to create table settings for this project to reflect my personal experience with the community.

Since the late Neolithic period, human civilization has relied on ceramics to provide safe and reliable methods for storing, cooking, and consuming food. As clay technology advanced and new techniques were developed, ceramics became reliant on community participation. Beginning in the first century, Chinese pottery communities worked together to fire massive wood-fueled cave kilns for days, even weeks, at a time. This was necessary for newly developed porcelain wares to be vitrified (non-porous).

My first encounter with the relationship between community and ceramics was in Peter Beasecker’s Mt. Alban series. With dark, heavy stoneware carriers containing numerous delicate porcelain cups, Beasecker creates a community of individual forms, working together as a cohesive unit. This reminds me of the way the ancient pottery villages worked together to fire their kilns, a community coming together for a singular purpose. The use of tumble stacking in my firing process is influenced by Simon Levin, a contemporary ceramicist specializing in wood-fired pottery. Levin stacks his wares on top of one another in the kiln, using the subsequent wad marking to add ornamentation and interest to the clay surface. Similarly, I use

tumble stacking to create a sense of community within the kiln, when stacked this way, each piece directly influences the way the flame marks surrounding pieces. In addition to building a community inside of the kilns, I use the wad markings to create a composition on the surface of the clay, enhancing the individual aesthetic of each piece.

I fire my work in a modified wood kiln to cone 10 (2,380F) reduction, an oxygen-poor atmosphere. During reduction, the kiln is filled with flame and the porous clay body absorbs the atmosphere from the kiln, the flame leaves markings on the clay ranging from elegant golden glows to deep earthy orange browns. During the firing wood, ash is carried throughout the kiln, settling on the surface of pots, shelves, walls, and posts. This ash acts as a flux, mixing with the free silica on the clay surface forming a natural, subtle glaze. Combined with the warm glow of the reduced body, it creates a surface that is not only appealing to the eye, but also the hand as one uses it, deepening their connection with each functional piece. My intention is that while highlighting the connection between community and ceramics, my work will also honor the long-standing traditions of wood-fired ceramics while granting its users a sense of elegance, intimacy, and functionality.

 

 

 

 

woodfired plates in close up image in warm tones of
browns & orange


 To view more of Benjamin's work visit Gallery Facebook or Flickr websites:

     https://www.facebook.com/pg/svsuartgallery/photos/?ref=page_internal

 

Contact Us

gallery@svsu.edu
(989) 964-2291(989) 964-2291

UAG Coordinator

Department of Art

Shaun Bangert, Chair

Office

University Art Gallery
Arbury Fine Arts Center
Contact Us:
To be added or removed on
postal mail or email:
gallery@svsu.edu