At Jennifer Allen’s new exhibition titled Handmade Nourishment at Schaller Gallery you will witness a new level of refinement for the seasoned potter. Allen is known for her simple flower and leaf illustrations on ceramics that celebrate pottery as a functional and decorative enhancement to everyday life. Her newest collection is a departure from her brightly accented and boldly styled illustrations to quieted, monochromatic surfaces highlighting user experience and the visual beauty of the meal.
The work in Handmade Nourishment oscillates between muted decoration and bold colors with an uncompromising love for function. While you may hear her brightly colored pitchers screaming in pain when hidden inside of a dark cabinet, the pale-blue work is happy being brought out just for special occasions, focused on providing a supreme function first, and decoration second.
Allen explains her motivations as a potter,”My focus is to express sentiments of beauty and joy through porcelain tableware. Whether forming a vase that decorates a room or producing dinnerware that celebrates a meal, my work is made to honor and enhance the rhythms of home life.”
Looking at Allen’s past and interests, the work she creates now makes sense as an embodiment of her passions. Allen grew up in the mountains of Alaska as the daughter of a fish and wildlife biologist, influences that still show through strongly in her illustrations. She spent years as a novice seamstress and avid fabric collector, now evidenced in her clay building process. Allen accentuates points of attachment with transparent glazes and also utilizes ceramic techniques like folds, darts, pleats, tufts, and ruffles to relate her ceramics to the craft of a seamstress.
Currently, Allen teaches ceramics part-time at West Virginia University and maintains a home studio. You can see her latest exhibition Handmade Nourishment in Schaller Gallery through February.
“Determined to keep “handmade” an essential part of the contemporary home, my ongoing focus is to reinforce personal sentiments of beauty, joy, nourishment and celebration through porcelain tableware.”