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Claire Shenk Rodgers

Resident Artist - Past

Residence Time: 1976-1979


Claire Shenk Rodgershas been working in clay and teaching ceramics for over 30 years. Claire came to Philadelphia, PA as a resident artist at The Clay Studio in 1976; and continued her involvement there as an Associate Artist, exhibiting artist and executive board member. She has been a ceramic school director, owner/manager, teacher and workshop leader. Claire leads “Pottery Walking Tours” of both the Philadelphia Art Museum and the University of Pennsylvania Museum of Archaeology and Anthropology. Claire exhibits ceramics and large sculptural forms from her studio in Philadelphia, and at Gallery 37 - a Destination for Artful Living - in Milford Delaware

Artist Statement

Volume, Surface and Edge:  My forms draw together my attraction for the volume inside the work, a painterly surface, and edge design and flow. These pots are covered with stoneware and porcelain slips, clay additions and impressed lines. They are fired, delineated with wax and stains, spray glazed and re-fired. 

Ceramic art, as it is made, is a form of living communication. The presence of a pot flows through its volume: this flow is contained by the foot, the walls and the rim. A vessel’s rim is its frame; it contains its volume and all that surges within it. The silhouette and surface graphics are extensions of this volume, and carry with them painterly images.

My ceramic experience has been both functional and sculptural. I work in both porcelain and stoneware, including colored clays. I feel that within the boundaries of the ceramic field, I can reach for an artistic whole that expresses my spirit.  It is my desire to create vital forms that revel in a subtle attention to detail.

What The Clay Studio means to me:

I arrived in 1976 as a Clay Studio Resident Artist. Previously I worked in my own studio, alone, for 4 years. I fit right into the Founder’s mission at the time – offering potters starting out on their artistic journey studio space, kilns, glaze chemicals, and facilities. 

Even though I left in 1980, I remained in Philadelphia and The Clay Studio continued to enrich my artistic life with lectures, workshops, as well as studio, collector, and gallery trips. Also, as a Clay Studio board member and executive board member over many years, I continually visited the building, gallery, and resident artists, which informed what I was doing in my own studio. Being on the Board improved my communication, financial, and management skills. The Claymobile made me realize the importance of clay as a teaching tool and a way to reach out to the communities around us. 
Simply put, its foundation as a Resident Artists program established The Clay Studio as a community. In these 50 years many wonderful people have passed through and remain in my life. 

Making my way through the Clay Studio Resident Artist community in the 1970s - the trips, lectures, board meetings, and all the other get-togethers – established for me the concept of Art As Community.