2002 MFA - Kent State University
2000 BFA and BS in Ed - Northwest Missouri State University
Clay Cunningham is a ceramic artist living and working in Council Bluffs, Iowa
"I am interested in exploring the beauty of clay as a material. From an early age I have enjoyed working with my hands: building things, manipulating materials, and exploring possibilities. I have also been lucky enough to make a career out of doing these things.
We live in an increasingly virtual world. Though that means many miracles and discoveries, I believe in our need to use our hands and minds to create beautiful, useful, hand-made things. The world does not need more cheap, machine-made 'throw away' things.
For a number of years, I created non-functional vessels and sculptures. Recently, I've returned to my roots of creating functional pottery meant to be used daily or for special occasions. Where I once strove to create quiet, stoic vessels, I now enjoy spending multiple hours adding layers of decoration on top of one another to create pots with richly adorned surfaces. Where my production used to be quite high, I now enjoy making fewer pieces, but pouring over them with adoring attention. I choose to work with a variety of materials, from low fire earthenware to high fired stoneware and porcelain. This allows me much flexibility, which I always crave.
My newest work has been inspired by the arrival of our two children, Amelie and August. The varied 'girl' and 'boy' colors and patterns that now decorate our home have made their way onto my artwork. I enjoy letting these patterns and colors enter my psyche as I work and let them float around the surfaces of my pots. Sometimes they gather close and other times they enjoy their own space, much like notes in music. Much like people. There is no narrative, no agenda, no pretension."