I have always been interested in the ability of a ceramic vessel to point to something beyond itself—to function as metaphor. Ceramic vessels, physically structured with necks, shoulders, bellies, and feet, can evoke the gesture and anthropomorphized stance of the human body; they also reveal deep aspects of human experience and of the natural world. My recent work explores variations on the ceramic vessel form:

The ceramic vessel as a wellspring or womb, with possibilities of both fecundity and barrenness.

The vessel as Bottle, whose forms evoke the elongated posture of Cycladic idols and the scarified texture of Yoruba terracotta heads.

The Planet Series explores swirling colored surfaces on rounded orbs, suggesting planets as well as depths of earthly strata.

My newest series, Totems, depart from the vessel tradition, though is indebted to it. These totems explore the limits of abstraction, express contemporary feminist sensibilities, and reference archaic fertility figures such as Cycladic idols and the Venus of Willendorf. 

These series represent different but related expressive interests. Each piece in a series is part of a continually evolving solution to a set of questions or parameters I have chosen to work within. The parameters, themselves, may change as the series evolve. 

Through spontaneous handling of inanimate clay, I attempt to find and breathe life into form. My creative process is grounded in reflective practice--imposing ideas on and listening to the material in cycles of learning. The material directs me as I direct it. We are in a reciprocal relationship.

                                                                                        Ellen Schön