Title: Open Emerald Vase
29 x 14 x 14"
Weight: 20.0 lbs.
This vase is part of a series that explored combining texturing the clay, opening up the neck of the vase to see what is inside, and marrying the clean symmetry of a thrown base with an organic asymmetrical top. With the rich, colorful glazes used with this vase to highlight the design work, it stands alone whether something is put in the vase or not.
One controversy in the art community asks whether functionality diminishes a piece. If you can use it, is it really art? Of course it is. Is a Native American rug or blanket not art because it can be used? Clearly not. All art has its roots in function first. It is the spirit from which art rises.
Our family in Hawaii are blessed to have torch ginger, halyconia flowers, antherium, and other tall, exotic flowers that look amazing in a vase. With this kind of vase, these gorgeous plants can finally be seen in all their glory.
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Derek Voien was finishing his Biology Degree at U.C.I. Irvine and applying to medical school, when he took his first ceramics class for a fun diversion. It was his first art class. He was accepted into medical school but deferred going for a year in order to wrap up his molecular biology research project. During that year, he took another ceramic class and then another. By the time he concluded his science research and was scheduled to leave to study medicine, he realized his true passion was in clay. In a leap of faith, he turned down medical school, bought a kiln and a potters wheel, and pursued what many thought was a crazy dream to become an artist.
Being an artist is a process of finding your voice, finding your joy, and allowing the act of creation to evolve and transform you and your work. Patience and a little humor helps too.
I am a ceramic artist. I take clay, water, fire, and minerals, transforming and alchemizing these elements into objects of use and, I hope, beauty.
I am drawn to opposites - modern/ancient, linear/organic, clay thrown on a wheel/clay handbuilt, warm energetic glazes/cool calming glazes. I try to combine these opposites into an harmonious and visually striking body of work.
Clay, frankly, is a crazy choice of medium to work in. It's dirty, it is fired at insane temperatures, it is heavy and unforgiving. And yet, it inspires me. It is earth. It is a force of nature. It is deeply primitive and incredibly contemporary. It is a living material with its own rules. It is also my happy playground where I can explore these personalities to create and share this joyful tribe of work for myself and others. Thank you.
Saddleback Community College, Mission Viejo CA (where I learned the basic skills of wheel throwing and handbuilding) 1988 - 1990
Self Taught 1988 - present
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