Byrdcliffe A.i.R. Presents
short insights into the creative process

#1 Karin Abromaitis – Byrdcliffe’s Session I ceramicist-in-residence

1. Can you describe your artistic process?

I’ve been exploring my Window Bowl series for about 10 years now.  They keep evolving, but the key idea or the pivot point for them is about light.  I’ve let light be the central concept and then just follow the  ideas and images that come to me.  Currently ideas of memory and the connection between biology, physics and metaphor come together to guide the direction of the work.  Of course there are the happy or even unhappy accidents that influence the work as well.

2. What have you been pursuing during your residency at Byrdcliffe?
When I came to Byrdcliffe I was focused on pursuing new firing and finishing techniques in hopes of streamlining my  process.  Making the bowls is a bit like preparing canvases.  Needless to say, my first attempts here were at first glance, a total disaster.  Then as I spent some time with my ‘failures’ I realized what a breakthrough they are offering me.  Also, the studio space I’ve been given here is fantastic.  There is light and space and quiet.  The view from my windows is peaceful and soothing-all of which has supported my desire to work all the time!  Besides the new direction with my Window Bowls, I’ve also been able to start on a series of wall tiles that I’ve been imagining for awhile now.  And then a totally different kind of wall piece showed up as well while I was playing around with pieces of leftover clay!  I have a feeling they will be showing up in many new places in my work.

3. How has the Byrdcliffe Residency affected your work and/or process? Can you describe any moments of inspiration?
Byrdcliffe has been a influential in both expected and completely surprising ways.  I expected to have solitary time to work in a focused way without distractions, but I had no idea how much the physical space would open things up for me.  Not to mention how the camaraderie and support of the other residents has fed me with energy and new ideas.  Our first show and tell has lead to a collaboration with Jeanne Larsen, a poet, to create a series of Window Bowls I think we’ll be calling Ostracons.  Ostracons were shards or fragments of pottery with writing on them in ancient Greek time.  So now I am writing fragments of her poems on the bowls.  It started with an idea she suggested about text on my bowls and has progressed to her words on my bowls.  Rich Conti has also been helpful with ideas on tweaking firing and surface techniques.  And the ceramics program now has a pit fire “kiln” that I’ve built to boot!

Karin will be presenting her finished and work-in-progress pieces during the June 30th Open Studio at the Byrdcliffe Arts Colony.  For more information, please visit

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