Joe Singewald grew up in northeast Iowa where he discovered handmade pottery. He first studied ceramics at the University of Wisconsin–Rivers Falls and received an MFA from Utah State University. Singewald’s utilitarian vessels have been in multiple exhibitions throughout the country, including NCECA Clay National, Strictly Functional Pottery National and Utilitarian Clay—Celebrate the Object. Singewald was a 2015 recipient of a Jerome Ceramic Artist Project Grant, facilitated by Northern Clay Center. He currently is the Art Department Studio Technician at the College of Saint Benedict and St. John’s University in Collegeville, MN. He lives and maintains a home and studio in Cold Spring, MN with his wife and three daughters.
Historically clay was first hardened by fire some 20,000 years ago. It’s hard to imagine all the generations of craftsmen between then and now, but those before me who gathered clay, formed and fired influence what I make today. Beyond this, I make pots because there’s little I would rather do.
I believe in the power of handmade pottery. Clay has the ability to enrich the lives it serves, something that can’t be understood without experience. A pot's proportions, its balance and weight, the soft gesture of hands on clay recorded at the wheel and preserved with heat, plus the look and feel of a glaze all influence the user’s experience well beyond the simple act of function.
There is something powerful in holding or using a handmade object. Knowing a favorite potter created, held, pondered that very piece in my hands is remarkable. There’s a connection between user and maker that can’t be duplicated elsewhere in day to day life. When handling vessels that are hundreds of years old, I love to imagine the unknown maker, the space the piece was created, the materials used and the world at that time.
In the end, I want my pots to be used and loved. I am deeply satisfied when my ceramic interpretations create an aesthetic attraction upon entering individuals’ private lives.