“Earth, water, air and fire so simple, but so complex.” —Unknown
Ceramics are made by shaping water, earthen powders, and clay into forms, which are then fired at high temperatures. Around the globe, the earliest examples were developed purely out of the need for hand-formed tools and ceremonial objects; some of the earliest surviving ceramics include the Venus of Willendorf (24,000 B.C.) and the Qin Dynasty’s Terracota Army (210 B.C.). Since, ceramics have evolved into an increasingly complex, versatile art form. Interrogating the boundaries of sculpture, form, and function, ceramics encompass a myriad of techniques and styles, such as Japanese raku, wheel-throwing, slab construction, and hand-forming, as well as various clay types including terracotta, stoneware, and porcelain. Having bridged the art-craft divide, present-day ceramic artists like Katsuyo Aoki, Shio Kusaka, and Rachel Kneebone are evolving the traditional techniques of ceramics practiced by pioneers like Paul Daschel, Edmond Lacenal, and Galileo Chini to produce increasingly innovative and experimental contemporary ceramic works.