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peter karner


Peter's home and studio are located in central Denver, Colorado.  Working as a potter full-time, he produces six bodies of work a year.  Each body of work offers him the opportunity to explore new ideas and refine existing ones.  He's intrigued by the marriage of form and decoration to create work that is both timeless and modern. 


As a studio potter, I am most concerned with form, its ability to function, decoration, and firing. In order for a piece to be truly successful, all of these components must come together. High fire reduction pottery, unlike most other media, has a great number of variables not fully under the control of the artist. Over the last eight years, I have been working with the same glazes and firing style. During that time, I have opened the kiln to find both treasures and trash. While this has been frustrating at times, the challenge to execute strong functional forms with distinctive, sophisticated glazes drives me to learn from my successes and failures. The size of a foot, whether a form works best squat or tall, how the glaze and decoration best suit various forms–I feel these qualities can only be resolved through repetition. Ironically, through repetition pieces are more apt to embody a certain unstudied organic essence. I love this process in spite of the myriad unsuccessful pots that result. By working in series over an extended period of time, I have grown immeasurably-both as an individual and an artist.

I take my inspiration from several places. First and foremost are the many pots, both contemporary and historical, that have caught my attention. I had the opportunity to have a tour of the ceramic collection at the Freer Gallery in Washington, DC. I left the museum that day having held pots from many different centuries and styles with the clear notion that regardless of the type of clay or the era of a pot’s creation, there is a certain essence that is present in each successful piece-a sense of the maker’s hand and the spirit that he or she instilled. To me, this essence is paralleled in the natural world. Flowers, mountain peaks, ridgelines, trees, and cloud formations around my southwest Colorado home embody these qualities to the fullest. In addition to the great tradition of functional pottery and my environs, I am greatly influenced by the designs found in textiles and the fluid movement of Chinese and Japanese calligraphy. Ultimately, I hope to instill in every piece a fluidity and grace found in the many things I draw inspiration from.

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