With interests in mid-century design, pop-culture and craftsmanship, Sam Knopp creates functional ceramics that are playful, minimal and richly tactile. Excited by the materiality and process of ceramics, she researches and develops her own clay-bodies and glazes putting them together in unexpected combinations to explore the relationship of surface to form, manufactured to handmade, and function to sculpture.
Originally from Red Deer, AB she studied at Emily Carr University of Art and Design (BFA 2013) and was the recipient of the Circle Craft Graduation Award and the BMO First Art Award for BC. Doing residencies at the Medalta Historic Clay District, Haystack Mountain School of Crafts and Banff Centre for the Arts, she has pursued both a functional and sculptural practice exhibiting work across North America. In 2015 she was awarded the Vancouver Mayor’s Arts Award for Emerging Artist in Craft and Design and since moving back to Alberta has set-up a full-time studio practice and is currently working towards a solo exhibition at the Stony Plain Art Gallery.
"I like to imagine my work living somewhere between the mid-century design and California funk. Trained on the West Coast I found myself attracted to these disparate aesthetics being trained both at an academic art institution and by self-made studio potters. Wanting to reconcile my desire for clean, cool and sophisticated design while still wanting an eccentric, playful and even rebellious spirit to be present in the handmade pot for a unique tacit experience."
on her studio process...
"While most of my work stems from the pottery wheel, I do also utilize hand-built and slip-cast components as I do not feel married to any particular process but rather enjoy process and experimentation which ceramics has endless avenues to pursue.
Most of my work involves layered and laminated clays. I am interested in the clay body not only as material for making forms or the canvas to adorn but as something beautiful in its own right. Making my own clay bodies and experimenting with marbling, layering and inlaying I enjoy the visual and tactile contrast multiple clays gives the user. Most of my wheel thrown vessels are made through a technique of doubling throwing (where I throw an object within an object) to get the effects of each of the various clay bodies in one pot."
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