With strong roots in experiential education, ceramics artist Careen Stoll has traveled extensively around the globe and within her experience of self. She attended Carleton College and then Utah State for her BFA and MFA degrees as well as learning from studio potters Linda Christianson and Silvie Granatelli. While in MN, she developed her ethics around studio practice and ecological impact in conversation with Linda, CSA farmers, and friends at her carpentry job. These ethics translated into the creation of the Tin Man kiln upon establishment of a studio in Portland, OR. She now has a studio near Battle Ground, WA, and her own land in Woodland, WA. You can find her work at The Jasmine Pearl Tea shop and on her website
"I design my pots to be comfortable and minimal. Think of beach stones and soft bodies: a full curve, fat lip, muted color, asymmetry and dimples. I choose porcelain for its working qualities and skin-silky touch. In keeping with strong environmental ethics, I built an innovative kiln that fired with wood and waste vegetable oil in a carbon-neutral footprint. The Tin Man kiln gave a rosy with freckles warm surface decoration. After 14 firings, I was asked to dismantle that kiln and move. I continue to throw and alter, loosely on molds, forms in porcelain, staying focused on the ergonomics of function while alluding to porcelain’s history of association with a sumptuous meal.
Most broadly, I am dedicated to growing and sharing useful natural beauty: eatable forests, tools, homes, pots and the food upon them. I find myself practicing gratitude to interact with the materials at their origin. I love the conversion of raw to refined, exploration within the confines of utility, and the stories that are shared along the way. Today I think of my role in culture as perhaps that of a social entrepreneur; I am speaking through the object about the shared human experiences of everyday ritual. When food is prepared, presented, and shared mindfully, I find nourishment far beyond simply eating. My artistic goal is to facilitate cultural understanding of the connection between locally based economies and health through the lens of experiential education hosted at my land."
1. What inspires your creations?
The beauty of natural form and function: the way the shell of a nautilus is such a compelling curve while also providing precise flotation control, or the way certain flowers are constructed as little bee envelopes but that also makes them so seductively mysterious. Here we are, these humans with such complicated social structures but we are still deeply moved by the ancient act of bending down to drink. What cup can remind us of the tender animal that seeks life-sustaining liquid?
2. What is your artistic process?
Currently, I use a fine porcelain, form it at the potter's wheel, and usually alter it away from round. It is glazed and fired in an electric kiln. I look forward to rebuilding my innovative kiln that used wood and waste vegetable oil to create a gentle natural blushing of the surface.