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Flux Arts Building

2505 NE Howard St
Minneapolis, MN 55418
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Artist Statement

For years I have honed my skills working as a painter, printmaker, and sometimes as a sculptor. However, I have fallen in love with ceramics and that is my primary focus at this time. I have not abanded my prior disciplines, I brought them into my present clay work. The surfaces of my pieces are now my new canvas, woodblocks, or paper, covered with designs, abstractions, landscapes, birds, and portraits. 

Ceramics philosophy

Philosophically, I find myself inspired by the Arts and Crafts movement. I appreciate the styles of the period, but what intrigues me most about the movement is the idea that craft and beauty can make a difference in this Post-Industrial Age (and in its own time, the Industrial Age). Times are different, but the problems and issues are the same. Instead of mass-produced wood and metal goods, we have our unaesthetic plastics and electronics.

Much of what we use daily is cheap but aesthetically empty. It serves a function, allows us to eat or drink something, store stuff, shelter us, or act as a distraction on a wall. I want to make things that are beautiful to hold, touch, and see. To do this, I need to make ceramic wares that connect the user’s unique experiences but also keep the cost low enough so people can afford to have them. I intend to make appealing things that people can afford.

How I got to ceramics

I stumbled into ceramics. In the past, I exhibited my artwork as a painter, printmaker, or drawer. I also worked with performance and installation artists but I usually kept to my lane as a painter and/or designer and collaborated on the conceptual aspects of the work.

In 2007, I was asked to teach Visual Arts by a high school for special education students. I happily took the offer. The Art room was essentially a ceramics/sculpture studio. It was furnished with a slop sink with a water filtration system, three wheels, an electric kiln, drying racks, and plenty of tools used for ceramics and sculpture. 

So, I took the job knowing full well I needed to relearn how to use clay. I taught myself how to fire the kiln, throw pots, trim, and glaze, as well as do slab, coil, and pinch techniques. I introduced my students to modeling and reduction methods and gave them short geology and history lessons on the topic. Each time a student wanted to try something I was not familiar with, I would learn a new process so they could experience it. Not surprisingly, creating and using ceramics turned out to be a therapeutic experience for many of my students. Eventually, along with my students, I too was hooked and I started to take my work in the craft seriously.

The utilitarian side of clay has moved me, at the same time I am still inspired to create images for my work using the techniques of my primary disciplines of painting, printmaking, and sculpture through underglazing, sgraffito, etching, reduction, and modeling. 

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Eric Skoglund takes commissions.

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