Working primarily with wheel-thrown porcelain, Minneapolis ceramicist Nick DeVries creates gorgeous controlled forms finished with matte glazes. Architectural details are hallmarks of these high-fired, functional pieces.
The artist states, “I make pots because I can’t stand the thought of not doing so; I am obsessed. On a primordial level, I am compelled by the clay, its malleable character, its instant responsiveness to my touch. A clay studio is alive with the richness of this mud, this raw clay, and the beginning of the process continues to engage my curiosities. As clay is ever pliant and changing, so is my work. The hidden, continuous process of transformation in the finished work is a constant motivation. It excites me. The conversation formed between the bowls, platters, or vases coming out of the kiln and those I am currently throwing or finishing is a driving force in the continuous evolution of my work. This process is a living one, an organic process directed by the special qualities of clay, glazes, and heat, all of them guided by my hand.
Beneath the organic, impressionable, and sometimes serendipitous nature of working with clay, I have control over the design and aesthetic appeal of my work. Where a form changes, where the body curves, and how the glazes might react are always on my mind. I take care in the creation of each piece and pay special attention to the overall design. Aside from the physical and aesthetic considerations, I am constantly thinking about the final function of art: the intersection of art, artist, and the public. My work is functional in all ways, a cup is meant to be held and used, but all of my work also serves a dual functionality. A cup, a vase, or a bowl may serve a purpose, to hold water, flowers, or to serve food. On a shelf these items serve us in other ways, visually and aesthetically. This is an important aspect of my work, making pottery that functions as beauty as well as utility, and enhances the many parts of our daily life.”
While earning his degree in painting and ceramics at St. John’s University in St. Joseph, MN, Nick worked as an assistant to potter Jim Loso. Nick is an experienced production potter and designer and has been an instructor at Northern Clay Center in Minneapolis and at the Edina Art Center.