sfclayworks gallery space will be showcasing the work of artist Ellen Shankin, a full-time professional potter from Floyd, Virginia. We are honored to have Ellen’s work as the inaugural exhibition in sfclayworks newly created gallery space. This exhibit coincides with a two day workshop at sfclayworks where Ellen will be sharing her thoughts and working methods with an eager group of potters. Ellen’s pottery will be on display starting Friday, June 28 and will be available for viewing until July 5th. Please note that the display will be smaller after the workshop as many of our workshop participants are returning to their respective cities and must take their pieces with them when they leave the workshop.

We hope you make time to stop in and see Ellen’s beautiful work.

To learn more about Ellen, check out her webpage at http://www.ellenshankin.com/.

Ellen Shankin Pottery Gallery WorkEllen Shankin Gallery Pottery
Gallery of Artist's Pottery

Ellen’s artist statement

Ellen-Shankin-Artist-PhotoEvery day I work at the wheel. Over and over again I focus my attention on the unruly clay and bring my mind and body together in an intention to center it and create forms filled with breath and energy. For more than 40 years I have found myself drawn to this effort, trying to make pots that possess strength and clarity.  Throughout that time I have been able to wander along a path that regularly courses between inspiration and familiarity, passion and comfort.

Day in and day out, I make forms that please me, that honor the obsessions that have always driven my inquiries:

Line: how it moves around a piece, out of the rim and back into the body.
Balance: how pots feel in the hand when lifted or poured.
Tension: how clay moves in ways that speak of a vitality pushing at the seams.

Architecture, the organic structure of nature around me, particular feelings about color and light, and my sense of the relationship between form and use, play heavily in the instincts and decisions that go into making these pieces.

I am keenly aware that along with these pots I am creating the quality of my time. I am crafting a daily existence filled with meaning and reward.  Along with pitchers and covered jars, I am constructing the very manner in which time passes. This allows me to follow threads of interest, to play, to spend time with color, texture, volume and scale and to watch those elements unfold over and over again in an evolution of my work.

These feelings, which underpin my studio life, value the journey as well as the destination.  This seems to be almost an anachronism today.  But there it is. A truth I have lived and loved.

Ellen Shankin workshop update on July 17, 2013:

sfclayworks first workshop was a great success. On Friday night Ellen presented a slideshow and lecture that we offered free to the public. The Friday night event was a nice way for workshop participants to meet one another and to also gain insight into Ellen’s influences and inspirations.

Our workshop was well attended and we received very good feedback. With our first workshop complete, we are already sending out inquiries to various artists we might like to have next year.

Ellen brought a few pieces for the gallery and here are a few highlights and details below.