Jenn Cole is a ceramic artist and curator from Lancaster, Ohio. She graduated from Ohio University with a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree in Ceramics in 2012. Following graduation, Jenn pursued a year long residency at The Iowa Ceramics Center and Glass Studio in Iowa, she was the Artist- In - Residence of Exhibitions at The Appalachian Center for Craft in Tennessee, a Short-Term Resident at The Red Lodge Clay Center in Montana and most recently she returned to The Iowa Ceramics Center and Glass Studio as a short-term Visiting Artist. Jenn has exhibited her pottery and curated shows in galleries across the country and has worked as the Gallery Manager at The Appalachian Center for Craft and as the Curator of Exhibitions and Gallery Coordinator for The Red Lodge Clay Center in Red Lodge, MT. Jenn currently lives in Cookeville, TN with her husband, step-daughter and two dogs where she works as a full-time potter.
I believe functional pottery should beautify everyday rituals and be a pleasure to use. I make pottery with the goal of welcomed utility and quiet moments but also the hope of sharing meals with loved ones.
Familial connections, antiquity-inspired imagery, and dialogue between the past and present are the foundation of my work. I am inspired by a quilt meticulously crafted by my great grandmother and stories of the past: stories about my relatives and how their history shapes my own.
Memory is preserved through the tactile experience and archival process. My grandmother’s quilt represented family and the wear and tear of everyday life. Every stain and frayed fiber tells a story of that fabric and gives insight to questions that I cannot ask of the past. Clay as a material acts as retention of memory in a similar manner, remembering and preserving every detail throughout the making process.
I throw simple, clean-lined forms from earthenware clay and apply white slip to create a blank canvas for drawing and painting vintage motifs. As my imagery progresses across a vessel, I think about how the surface of a pot can transcend a cloth canvas. Through the repetition of floral patterns and systematic mark making coupled with painterly underglaze application, my process enables me to move fluidly between quilting, embroidery, and traditional ceramic techniques. I aim to evoke a sense of nostalgia through the catalyst of surface adornment.