Ceramic artist Shoko Teruyama, whose work is featured in the 2021 Penland Benefit Auction, was introduced to Penland when she and her husband, Matt Kelleher, were selected as resident artists in 2005. “The hardest I ever worked on my practice,” she remembers, “was during the three years of the residency. When I left Penland, I was confident to step into the real world.”
Shoko grew up in Mishima, Japan. She taught elementary school before coming to the U.S. to study art at University of Nebraska-Lincoln in 1997. She received an MFA in ceramics from Wichita State University in 2005. Shoko and Matt shared a studio at The Barns during their three-year residency, which they completed in 2008, and they have taught several Penland workshops together. These days, they live and work in Alfred, NY. Matt teaches at Alfred University and Shoko continues her studio practice making densely patterned functional ware along with charming narrative work.
“The pottery I make begins with bisque molds, slab construction, and coil building to make thick, heavy forms,” she explains. “White slip is brushed over the red earthenware to create depth and motion. I carve back through the slip exposing the red clay, and I apply multiple layers of translucent glazes. Ornamentation is important to my ideas. I have created motifs called vine patterns to lead your eye around the work. Patterns run continuously to create narrow borders or to fill large amounts of space. They can flow into tight curves just as easily as they can bend around the belly of a form. The patterns create visual movement representing water, wind, and clouds.”
Shoko says that she is 100% a Japanese potter and 100% an American potter. In the video above, by Tyler Bopp, she makes a large platter (similar to the one in the Penland auction) as she talks about how her cultural heritage has influenced her work in ceramics.