Expressive Surface Design Techniques

Instructor: Jonathan Mess

Supplies/Materials Fee: $25

Enrollment limit: 15

Level: All levels

This workshop will introduce students to a variety of ceramic surface design techniques, with an emphasis on exploration and experimentation. Techniques covered will include incising, sgraffito, inlay, cloisonne, slip trailing, stamping, sprig molding, resist techniques, stenciling, transfer methods, torching, washes, and more. Students will create a body of samples and may complete finished works, but the focus will be on gaining a breadth of technical knowledge and pushing your creativity to develop rich, exciting surfaces. To maximize work time, students will not leave with fired work, but may arrange to fire it themselves or through Mess. No experience necessary.

Small Traces Tile No.12 by Jonathan Mess

Jonathan Mess creates experimental works using reclaimed ceramic materials. Art critic Daniel Kany writes, “The slabs’ surfaces are handled loosely like highly energized abstract paintings—swirling, shifting and folding—except their materials range from vitrified, transparent finishing glazes to porously mat skeins of swirling, chalky slip. In terms of ceramics, Mess’ casual boldness is remarkable.” An Ohio native, Mess received a BFA at the University of Montana, Missoula in 1998, and an MFA in Ceramics at the State University of New York at New Paltz in 2008. He has been teaching visual arts with a focus on ceramics for nearly two decades. Mess has received several grants and awards, including the Maine Arts Commission’s 2015 Contemporary Craft Fellowship, St. Botolph Club Foundation Emerging Artist Award, Ruth & Harold Chenven Foundation Grant, and selection as a finalist for the Society of Contemporary Craft’s Raphael Founder’s Prize in 2013. His work is in private collections and is exhibited nationally and internationally. Mess resides, works, and teaches in midcoast Maine.