Lovettsville, Virginia studio artist and educator, Kristen Swanson, has had her hands in clay since 1991. Kristen has been teaching ceramic art to children and adults in her community through her personal studio and classroom, White House Ceramics Studios, since 2001. Kristen exhibits her unique porcelain art locally and nationally and sells her work around the globe. She lives and works in her home studio in the heart of historic Lovettsville, Virginia with her husband and three sons.
“I work with a mid-range porcelain clay body and fires to cone 7 in oxidation in an electric kiln. My original designs are all hand painted and carved using a technique called sgraffito, meaning to scratch. I apply pigmented clay slip, or underglaze, to the unfired clay body. Once surface work is complete, pieces are bisque fired, clear glazed, and fired a second time to vitrification. I am committed to making art that is useful and enjoyable. I approach each piece as a problem to solve and an opportunity to communicate my own sense of beauty and order. I am interested in creating visual tension and balance on the surface of my pottery. I enjoy manipulating the elements of line, pattern and color to achieve a surface that is both controlled and spontaneous, graphic and soft. The use of black is visually grounding, balances the femininity of my patterns, and offers the highest contrast to my porcelain clay body. I use a variety of brushes, slip trail bottles and carving tools to create patterns on unfired ware. The use of sgraffito through black slip connects the surface decoration to the porcelain body. I am strongly influenced by traditional Japanese textiles and block prints as well as contemporary architecture, patterns and interiors. I have recently begun making larger forms and am learning how to approach pattern and scale on larger pieces.”