In the Loop
Alumni News : Nov 5, 2018

Ceramics: a balance between the right and left brain

Alumni Spotlight | Adrienne Eliades (MFA Ceramics '16)

Adrienne Eliades is a studio artist who practices in her home studio in Vancouver, Washington. Eliades teaches part-time at Portland Community College and leads workshops around the United States. When she's not working in the studio, teaching or traveling, Eliades enjoys exploring the Pacific Northwest. We caught up with Eliades to find out what she's been doing since graduating with her MFA in Ceramics in 2016 from the UF School of Art + Art History.

What have you been doing since graduating from UF?

Since graduate school I moved across country to Vancouver, Washington (right outside of Portland, Oregon). I have completed residencies at Ash Street Project in Portland, Oregon; Guldagergaard International Ceramic Research Center in Skælskør, Denmark; and a Design Residency at The Bright Angle in Asheville, NC. I have exhibited locally, nationally and internationally. At the end of last year, my partner and I purchased a home. This year, I renovated the garage into my studio or "Garageio." It was a big undertaking but I am thrilled to be the master of my own domain! As a young ceramic artist, it’s a constant struggle to keep yourself in a studio situation. There’s a lot of equipment needed, as well as health and safety considerations that can be very expensive. It’s so nice not to worry about where I will be able to make work next.

How would you describe your art practice?

At the moment I am primarily focused on my functional pottery practice. I work in series, making functional pieces of my own design. In my work I explore the aesthetics of design and social dining experience. Ceramics is my favorite medium because it challenges both the right and left sides of my brain. I love how it balances principles of design, color, form and function, with chemistry and math. Clean lines and gentle organic curves characterize my ceramic forms. Based on my research of 20th century domestic spaces, I reinvent patterns and motifs. Through meticulous testing of materials, I create evocative motifs and color palettes for my pieces. I pair pops of color with white, grey, and black marks.

How do you maintain a vibrant studio practice?

For me, keeping a vibrant studio practice is all about continuing to question what I am doing and what I am making in an effort to grow as an artist and as an individual. Making myself uncomfortable (i.e., not complacent) is the key to growth for me. The most effective way I’ve found to spark a new perspective is a change of environment, often prompted by a new opportunity like school or working for another artist or on a new project. This explains why I have moved every three years to different parts of the county. Now that I own a home and a studio, I don’t think I will be moving next year (although you never know what opportunity might arise!), so residencies have provided a new temporary creative space to refresh my practice when needed. 

What do you miss about your time at UF?

The community! Don’t get me wrong; Portland has a great assortment of artists and makers, and I love my group of art friends out here. However, UF attracts a dynamic and diverse group of artists that challenged my art aesthetically and conceptually and provided continued support.

What advice would you give to a young artist today?

Don’t worry about money. Instead turn that nervous energy into empowerment by taking a personal finance or business course now. As a self-employed artist in the future, you will be grateful.

Oh, and harnessing the power of the handwritten thank-you note can set you apart as a professional. Being an artist isn’t purely about talent; you need to have good professional practices.


Edited for style.