Drawing inspiration from the works of contemporary studio potters who were influenced by historic Asian ceramics, I work within a catalog of forms that are designed to serve food and drink. I design my pottery forms so that they will create an engaging landscape on the table. My work evolves steadily through thoughtful making in the studio.
In my work I explore the power and beauty found in simplicity. Making simple pots will always be a worthy challenge for me because in order for a simple pot to be successful, many subtle nuances must coexist amicably. I create the soft, approachable matte surfaces I want my pots to have by applying slips or leaving the clay raw and firing my work in atmospheric kilns. I employ the potter's wheel and simple press molds so that my pieces do not feel sterile or overly mechanical. The touch of the hand is present in my finished pieces.
My work is a reflection on the times I have spent traveling and living in different parts of this country. In my travels I have had the opportunity to gather with eclectic groups of people. What I have in common with these people is the love for wholesome food, tasty beverages and the desire to come together for shared meals. I am interested in how my work fills a perceived need for these kinds of people to have and use handmade pottery because of its ability to enhance the communal dining experience.
Born in the middle of Middle America, Joshua Kuensting grew up in a house where the kitchen table was a focal point of daily life. A place to drop the mail, do your homework, and for cats to slumber. It was also the place that his family gathered together for meals. It was during these meals that some of the best and worse experiences of his youth took place. When Joshua moved away from the middle and travelled about his home country, he continued to partake in a variety of communal dining experiences. These experiences influenced him to make tableware with a sense of touch and inherent usefulness. Joshua designs his pottery with an eye for what he calls “the landscape of the table;” each piece is functional and aesthetically pleasing alone, but taken together they create a space that is inviting, comfortable, and greater than the sum of its parts. By living with and using Joshua's work, design elements such as rhythm and proportion become apparent. Joshua hopes that these elements working together will positively enhance people's communal dining experience.
Joshua Kuensting earned his MFA in Ceramics from Utah State University. He was a Studio Lab Coordinator at Winthrop University in Rock Hill, South Carolina and a Core Fellow at Penland School of Craft in North Carolina. He holds a BA in Psychology from the University of Missouri-Columbia. Currently, Joshua is in his second year of residency at the Clay Studio of Missoula.