Erin McGuiness Celebrates Form With Her Vessels


Erin McGuiness Celebrates Form With Her Vessels

Berkeley ceramicist Erin McGuiness creates hand-coiled vessels and carved sculptures that are a personal celebration of form.

Erin McGuiness is no stranger to the world of pottery. After attending a workshop and working in the field for many years–as well as becoming fascinated with the craft as a child–the artist uses various techniques to create her sought-after pieces that celebrate shape and form. Here, we chatted with McGuiness to learn more about her craft and what’s influencing her.

Erin McGuiness Celebrates Form With Her Vessels

McGuiness begins work shaping a large-scale form with her hand-coiled technique, which involves spiraling three to five coils to build the vessel's side walls.

Erin McGuiness Celebrates Form With Her Vessels

Once McGuiness learned to hand-coil, the artist began creating vessels with striking shapes. The technique involves building a form with thin snake-like sections of clay.

Erin McGuiness Celebrates Form With Her Vessels

Erin McGuiness Celebrates Form With Her Vessels

Who in your industry inspires you?

A lot of people talk about Peter Voulkos as the one who took clay and turned it into art, but for me it was Hans Coper. His translation of the vocabulary of the vessel into sculpture was pure genius.

Name a dream trip on your bucket list.

Artist residencies are my favorite trips because I sink into a place and feel a part of the culture and community rather than merely an onlooker. My dream would be to go to a residency somewhere on the coast of Italy, like the one Fiorucci Art Trust has in Li Galli, followed by some R&R in Positano, and end at the Hotel Raya in Panarea.

What do you collect?

Rocks, stones, branches and other found natural objects. The beauty, the mix and symbiosis of texture, colors and form in nature is boundless and always replenishes my creative well.

Describe a daily ritual you enjoy.

Almost every day I have lunch at Standard Fare. The food there is absolutely amazing and there’s a gathering space for the many creatives in my Berkeley neighborhood–a sort of home away from home–where we can emerge from our studios and come together.

What excites you about what you do?

For me it’s about the magic of creating something that has not existed before. The pleasure of forming wet clay and imagining new shapes. It’s like an itch; an itch to get my hands in clay, lose track of time, and just sink into the quiet peacefulness of flow.