Kim LaVonne Ceramics

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Meet the Artist

  • About This Artist

    Kimberly LaVonne is a ceramic artist who hand-builds forms adorned with graphic illustrations depicting parts of her heritage and ideas about the body, death and remembrance. Her works have been shown nationally and internationally in venues such as Oliva Gallery (Chicago) and the Kápolna Galéria (Hungary). Ceramics Monthly awarded her as one of the Emerging Artists of 2020. LaVonne received her BFA from the University of Central Missouri and her MFA in Ceramics from IU.

  • Q&A With This Artist

    A: My work involves creating vessel, platter and sculptural forms utilizing slab and coil hand-building techniques. After the forms are built I coat the work in a black slip and then adorn the surface with carved imagery using the sgraffito and mishima techniques. The surfaces are collaged with imagery of teeth, hands and feet, flowers and food which I use to weave together ideas of heritage, remembrance, the body and death.

    A: Hand-building for me is an act of meditation where I ponder the clay that I work my hands over in repeated motions. Through this act I consider form, function and how to communicate memory and honor through an object. By creating a visual language through repeated icons and imagery from my background I've been able to celebrate and stay connected to my Panamanian heritage through craft.

    A: My background in art started with drawing and painting. I came into clay almost on accident and ended up finding it as another way to problem solve my ideas or investigate a drawing. What I love about the work I'm creating now is that I've finally found a way to combine the two, utilizing sketches of myself to create portraits on the ceramic work.

    A: I'm always thinking a lot about my mother who lives in Panama. It's not been easy to visit and has recently been impossible due to the pandemic. She is the connection to my Panamanian heritage. Sometimes it's a dish I wish I could ask her to make, or a memory of a family member from when I lived in Panama as a kid. Today it was a desire for a raspado. So memories like this slowly make their way into my work, repeated over and over like patterns gaining strength on each new vessel.

    A: What has been most grounding in this time of uncertainty and anxiousness has been my studio practice. I think we all experienced a wave of time no longer making sense during 2020, and within that I just tried to hold on to a rhythm of making work. This is what kept me connected to any sort of community at all, whether through impromptu artist talks or zoom workshops with students I wouldn't have otherwise had a chance to interact with.

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