Peter Karner works full time from his home/studio at Hesperus in the La Plata Mountains in Southwest Colorado. Peter aspires to create pottery that is both timeless and modern through the evolution of his intrigue with form and decoration.
His work :
“I work with stoneware. My pots are thrown, thrown and altered, or hand-built. To achieve visual depth in my patterns, I employ five elements. Four of these–wax resist, latex, dipping, and brushwork–are applied to bisqued pots. The pots are then high-fired in a heavy reduction atmosphere with the intent of trapping carbon in the base glaze. It is trapped carbon that is the fifth and random element. Each pot is designed to serve a functional purpose and is compatible with modern appliance. I produce six bodies of work a year. Each body of work offers me the opportunity to explore new ideas and refine existing ones. ”
The landscape around his home, calligraphy, textiles and the pottery of the past have influenced his glaze decorations.
His artistic statement :
As a studio potter, I am 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 has a great number of variables not fully under the control of the artist. Over the last several years, I have been working with the same five 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 of 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. In particular, while apprenticing for Solveig Cox in 1989, 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 sprite that he or she instilled. To me, this essence is paralleled in the natural world. Flowers, mountain peaks, ridge-lines, 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, wall paper, rugs, and the fluid movement of Islamic, Chinese and Japanese calligraphy. Contemporary architecture and Islamic iron work also have a noticeable impact on my designs.Ultimately, I hope to instill in every piece a fluidity and grace found in the many things I draw inspiration from.
Link to Peter Karner’s website: Peterkarnerpottery.net