Ian developed a passion for ceramics in high school and completed his Bachelors of Fine Arts at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee in 2014. He completed a one year residency at Taos Clay in 2015 and moved back to Wisconsin, where he apprenticed with Simon Levin. Ian is currently living and working back in Taos, NM.
Originally published in June/July/August 2019 issue of Ceramics Monthly, pages 40-43.
http://www.ceramicsmonthly.org . Copyright, The American Ceramic Society. Reprinted with permission.
Click play to listen to Jacob Meer and Ian Connors on the Tales of a Red Clay Rambler Podcast with Ben Carter.
Curiosity drives my process. It is what I strive to convey in the work. Whether I am responding to wet clay in the studio or observing finished work, the experience of wonder motivates me. The materiality of clay fascinates me, with its ability to record the subtle variations that develop through working. Choosing such a material requires me to be equally as receptive throughout the process.
Soft-slabs allow me to work slowly and formulaically. Working off round, I define profiles with planes that can be pushed from the inside to show volume while stretching the exterior surface. Seam lines allow me to explore geometry and define proportions. Building most of the forms in sections offers me a playground of ideas. An interior floor slab can close off a hollow base and continue through a wall, becoming a definitive horizontal exterior line. I am interested in elements that tell of an interior-exterior relationship; through user interaction their subtle relationships are slowly revealed.
Bare clay and firing with wood highlights qualities that draw me in. The rich surfaces continually reveal themselves in different light. I am very conscious of the role of time in my work, whether it’s the way time is narrated by the slow sensuous lick of flame, or the way handmade pottery fits into our lives today.
Handmade pots are countercultural; these pots, their makers, and their users choose to focus their efforts away from the vulgarity of our societal values. With our current political climate and the rapid speed of life, I am easily consumed by fears and schedules. Handmade pots encourage their users to slow down and celebrate daily life. These objects often serve as a window to the temperament of the maker. They invite the user to relate to these objects on an interpersonal level. My goal is to support intimate connections between people and the simple things they find comfort in.