Featured Artist – Meredith Chernick

Meredith Chernick
Meredith Chernick
Meredith Chernick
Meredith Chernick
Meredith Chernick
Meredith Chernick

Q & A

Q: Tell us a little about your art.

A: My work is meant to be used and enjoyed every day. I design each piece to work to its fullest potential, so that it is useful and beautiful. I want my mugs and pour overs to be handled and used, not merely set on a shelf. I want my bowls, pitchers, and cruets to be your go-to serving pieces for family dinners or potlucks, I make pottery that beautifies your routine and compliments your daily life.

Q: Why did you start doing what you do?

A:  I have had my hands in clay since I was a child. I have always been a creative: drawing, pottery, sculpture, printmaking, pottery, glass… I love it all, and became an art teacher to share my love of creating in a variety of materials, but clay has always been my preferred medium. After a few decades of teaching, it was time to put more focus on my own work. Three and a half years ago I left teaching art at the college level to make pots! I have never looked back (honestly, I haven’t had the time!) and I couldn’t be happier to be on this path. I used to think I only wanted to do my art for fun, for myself… but one day I realized that if I make art for a living, I would get to do it all day, every day.

Q: What makes you different from others in your field.

A:  Every artist brings their own personal style and influence to their work. In my work, it is important to me that my pieces are functional and well designed. I truly want my work to be something that you use each day, not something that sits on a display shelf. I strive for my work to function fully; to feel comfortable in your hands (that is part of the function!), to keep your coffee warm, to go safely in your dishwasher, to pour neatly, to serve beautifully. A functional piece of pottery works well and makes the user happy.

Q:  What are your biggest influences?

A:  I have many potters who I respect as craftspeople and artists, but my biggest influences have been my own pottery teachers throughout my life (I started taking pottery when I was 6 and have never stopped!) My current influences are my group of craftswomen, the LadyMakers who I talk with often and meet with online weekly during the pandemic. It is so valuable to have colleagues to bounce ideas off of when you work alone.

Q:  What has changed since you’ve first started?

A: I have become more confident in the work that I do. Working on pots and evaluating them every single day helps a potter to see more clearly, to edit with a more educated eye and hand.

Q:  Tell us something most people don’t know about your process.

A:  Pottery is. a slow process! Each piece takes 4-6 weeks from start to finish I make each piece one at a time, by hand, either throwing it on the potter’s wheel or rolling out slabs and forming them. After I handbuild or throw a pot, it dries overnight and then the next day I will trim the bottom to have a clean finished foot, I will form and add the handle, and sign the bottom. The mug will then dry for at least a week, probably two (pottery dries slowly in the northwest!) before I can bisque fire it and fill the kiln with pottery. The first firning takes one day to fire, plus one day to cool. Then I glaze- not just one mug but an entire kiln load of pottery- this takes a few days! Next I load the kiln and glaze fire to about 2200 degrees, this takes one day to fire, plus about 36 hours for the kiln to cool. When the kiln has cooled, I sand the bottoms of the pots so they are smooth on your table, pack and ship! Whew!!

Q:  Does your work comment on current social or political issues?

A:  Pottery is political! Making pottery, buying pottery is political. The decision to make, use, and purchase handcrafted pottery pieces instead of mass produced, disposable items is not only a statement, but a movement away from blind consumerism and in support of independent, local businesses that contribute to your local community. Supporting locals supports and strengthens your local economy. The items I procure and use in my making process are locally sourced. Using pieces that are designed to last for decades or generations rather than weeks or seasons is a better choice for the environment and your budget. Anthropologically speaking, a society that uses everyday objects made by artisans is the sign of an advanced civilization.

Q:  Where would you like to go next?

A:  I am right where I want to be 🙂 (But more online sales are always a good thing!)