Shawn Spangler, a Pennsylvania in native, is a ceramic artist currently living and working in Hawaii. Spangler's work, draws inspiration from craft, industrial design and digital technology. His installation projects raise questions concerning authorship and commodification of objects, highlighting the connections and margins between digital and analog processes of producing ceramic vessels. Spangler holds an Masters of Fine Arts degree from Alfred University and recently finished a residency at The Clay Studio in Philadelphia PA. He has shown internationally and has taught workshops at numerous art centers, colleges and universities throughout the United States. Spangler is currently a Assistant Professor at The University of Hawai'i. His wheel thrown porcelain forms can be complex, yet clearly articulated, oftentimes created through the combination of multiple parts. The forms are reminiscent of both Koryo dynasty and Song dynasty, examples he observed as a resident artist in China in 2002. He states, ”My work is an amalgamated map of the world I reflect upon. Producing pottery is a kind of play; a regenerative act ripe with reverence, revealing the human hands enduring connection to creativity. It guides us through stories of our past remaining as a cultural signifier to help us locate where we once were and where we are going."
I try to think about work in the context of scholars, artists, designers, and producers. It’s through material consciousness that we looked at tools and methods available to us and how the values inherent in craftsmanship obligate us to relate to those tools in a particular way
Ceramic is tied to ideas of culture, technology, art, our means of producing functional vessels is evolving. Technological development has always defined a boundary, of old and new, what is considered traditional methods and the introduction of new tools.
There is no doubt that the destination for craft is evolving in concordance with technology. Ceramics responds and reflects; social, economic and technical demands of society from 20,000 years ago to today. I am fascinated with how technology, which is in constant transition, continues to shape the timeless tradition of producing ceramic work.
I believe part of the importance of working in clay has always dealt with the maker’s touch and the nuance of the hand. Along with the participatory nature of a pottery, I have always been interested in how it relates to a spirit of collaboration. Pottery can deal with formal issue, social issues but unlike some other media they may also deals with the experiential, as a tactic object we connect with daily. When a pot enters into our homes, its context can be judged on those terms. We may see how well does a piece pours, or how comfortable is it to handle. These are intimate objects. We take these objects put them on the table or in our cupboards. We cradle these objects in our hands, and we bring these objects to our lips and bringing them into our lives. That is the wonderful thing which functional pottery can do, they can be an active participant in our world. Pottery will always mediate between nourishment and our bodies, and in a very real way makes demands on both artist and participant alike.
My interest is focused on artistic authorship upon ceramic vessels through object interpretation, transformation, and re-contextualization from a point of origin. Ceramic vessels have served as cultural indicators throughout time. We bestow these objects with the power to narrate our experience. They may guide us through stories of our past remaining as cultural signifiers to help us locate where we once were and where we are going.