Artist Showcase: Christina Erives and Amy Shindo

These are the fourth and fifth artists in a series of posts highlighting Dysfunctional, curated by Roberto Lugo, on display at Pewabic through May 14, 2017.


desayuno, 2016


Christina Erives creates objects that reflect the traditional artistic techniques of her Mexican heritage in part because she hopes to prevent the processes from being lost.

“Through the use of various objects I hope to render a narrative that seeks to embrace and celebrate these rituals of a new generation,” she explains. “I enjoy seeing these objects evolve through the use of clay just as a story of an event can change over time in the ways of telling it. Ceramics as a material has permanence; it is one of the ways we were able to learn about ancient cultures. There is beauty in these traditions and my aim is to make a mark in my time that will be preserved in the history of ceramic objects.”

Erives earned a Bachelor of Arts and Master of Arts from California State University and her Master of Fine Arts from Pennsylvania State University. She was a visiting artist at Kansas City Art Institute and a resident artist at Red Star Studios in Kansas City, Mo., and was Mexican Ceramics special artist-in-residence at the Arquetopia Foundation in Puebla, Mexico, among others. Erives currently teaches at Belger Arts Center in Kansas City, Mo.


Nine Zero One, 2017


Amy Shindo builds upon her culinary experience to create art from what others might shrug off as mundane.

“My work investigates the subtle intersections of life, labour, sensation and creativity to question how objects and ritual can add new dimensions to the mundane,” she explains.

“I methodically approach my chosen materials, which often bear little or no resemblance to the products they will become. My aim is to transform the raw into experiences that reflectively highlight the potential hidden in things, and add freshness to life.”

Raised in a restaurant family and with formal training in the culinary arts, the Ontario, Canada, native often combines her culinary and clay interests. She studied ceramics at Sheridan College in Ontario, and served as Artist in Residence at the Ceramic Arts Research Centre, at the University of Sunderland, England.


Weaver’s Detroit Welcome

Weaver Kitchen Backsplash Accent

Scott Weaver wanted to do something special for Pewabic Pottery and for Detroit, to honor where he got his start and the city’s current vibe of revitalization.

An artist in Pewabic’s Gallery of North American Artists, Weaver releases his new 6 x 12 inch Detroit Skyline Welcome tile featuring the city skyline above an Arts & Crafts style welcome. The release includes a chance to meet Weaver as the first in Pewabic’s visiting artist series Saturday, April 29th, 11 a.m.-3 p.m.

“With the revitalization of Detroit I thought it was a good fit,” says Weaver, adding that his history with the pottery inspired him. “I’ve had this relationship with Pewabic and that’s where I started, of course. I wanted to do something for Pewabic.”

After years as a stonemason, Weaver started taking classes at Pewabic when his chiropractor made the suggestion in 1996. He stayed with it four consecutive winters and by 2000 established Weaver Tile, where he creates high-fired decorative tiles in his distinctive naturalistic style.

It’s not entirely unlike stonemasonry, says Weaver, adding that he still works with a lot of fireplace surrounds. A lifelong nature-lover, Weaver’s tiles often include designs of herbs, wildflowers, animals and bugs, as well as a series that reflects on people enjoying the outdoors.

“I’ve spent my entire life out in the fields in the nature and the fields,” he says, describing a childhood of birdwatching and foraging, raising butterflies and moths. He and his wife currently live on 80 acres on a prairie fen at the headwaters of the Grand River in Horton, southwest of Jackson “We have lots of inspiration.”

His studio is in an 1870s post-and-beam barn that he purchased, tagged, dismantled and reassembled two miles away on his property.

“I was looking for a studio with ambiance,” he says. “It’s a cool building. I have parts of ten different barns in here to get the pieces I needed.”


Artist Showcase: Margaret Kinkeade

This is the third in a series of posts highlighting artists from Dysfunctional, curated by Roberto Lugo, on display at Pewabic through May 14, 2017.


Betty’s Delight, Brown, Red and White, Arrangement No. 1, 2017

“The domestic object as souvenir” is how Margaret Kinkeade sums up her work, which often reflects upon the nature of collections.

In Betty’s Delight, Brown, Red and White, Arrangement No. 1, Kinkeade translates fiber art quilt patterns and the concept of transmitting familial traditions, well wishes and meaningful heritage patterns into an arrangement of 40-some 6 x 6 inch mid-range stoneware, red stoneware and porcelain with underglaze plates with which visitors interacted at the exhibit’s opening.

“The quilt arrangements in my most recent body of work only come into being as a result of their use. As the participants engage in the breaking of the bread with strangers and friends alike they became active participants in the shaping of the ‘quilt’ comprised of the plates from which they eat,” Kinkeade says.

Kinkeade’s concept is for participants to select the position to hang each plate on the gallery’s wall, thus creating, according to Kinkeade, “a fingerprint of the moment, the ritual, and the gathering with no two arrangements alike.” Of the 42 plates in Pewabic’s gallery, several remain unhung.

Kinkeade focuses on American folk art and traditional craft, particularly those historically created by women. She also explores human nature’s draw to collect objects of personal or sentimental value.

“In my experience, collecting acts as an attempt to combat the temporality of a moment and the souvenir acts as a surrogate to re-experience. Even though the event inevitably falls victim to time, and it’s fluid effect on our recollection, the souvenir acts as a tangible connection to something intangible. These items are not documentation of the events themselves, as exists in a photograph, but shells which hold the memory of the moment within its walls,” Kinkeade explains.

Kinkeade earned a Bachelor of Fine Arts in printmaking from the University of Oklahoma and a Master of Fine Arts in ceramics from Pennsylvania State University. She has exhibited at the Epsten Gallery, Overland Park, Kan.; The Clay Studio in Philadelphia; and at Burlington City Arts, Burlington, Vt., among others. She teaches at the Kansas City Art Institute’s School for Continuing and Professional Studies in Kansas City, Mo.

Artist Showcase: Sebra Debrecht

This is the second in a series of posts highlighting artists from Dysfunctional, curated by Roberto Lugo, on display at Pewabic through May 14, 2017.


T-Shirt, detail 2016

Sebra Debrecht uses “tile fabrics” — interlaced porcelain, polyester string, jump rings and clasps — to encourage viewers to consider ceramic’s typically immoveable identity in her artwork T-Shirt.

“I wanted to produce art that was active and changeable to its location, either through preexisting architecture or human interaction. The malleability of these pieces allows the work to dwell in most settings by warping to any site while also manipulating the space,” says Debrecht, whose interest centers on how her pieces will influence a viewer’s connection to the space around it.

Debrecht’s work is influenced by traditional Islamic tile ornamentation and the complexity created by its repetitive simple forms. She developed her techniques working with Herend porcelain, founded in 1826, while studying abroad at the International Ceramics Studio (ICS) in Kecskemét, Hungary.

“Identifying this complexity, my work deconstructs and simplifies these patterns into my own personal interpretation,” she says.

The Dallas native received her Bachelor of Fine Arts in ceramics and art history from the Kansas City Art Institute before joining The Clay Studio in Philadelphia.

Artist Showcase: Shalene Valenzuela

This is the first in a series of posts highlighting artists from Dysfunctional, curated by Roberto Lugo, on display at Pewabic through May 14, 2017.


Shalene Valenzuela, Red Hot #2 and Red Hot #3

Utilizing playfulness and wit, Shalene Valenzuela’s work salutes an idealized era through hand-painted retro images on ceramic sculptures of common household items and a shiny veneer finish.

In Potholder: Red Hot #2 and Potholder: Red Hot #3, Valenzuela’s porcelain potholder sculptures feature likenesses of women in lighter ads, making an ironic play on words and materials. Exploring issues often connected with women resonates with Valenzuela.

Exploring women’s issues in her art is important to Valenzuela, who has said that this study resonates with how her perceptions of herself are changing along with how other women are perceiving themselves and how society views them.

“I see my exploration of these issues addressing self perception and expectations reaching beyond just purely feminist concerns. It’s a question of how we all strive to attain impossible ideals based on what others define we should be,” Valenzuela shares.

Valenzuela’s response to anyone wondering why she uses clay, rather than the actual objects — such as a blender in the case of Blending in: Some Cookies — is to create a “trompe l’oeil with a twist,” displaying something that is not as it seems.

Shalene Valenzuela, Blending In: Some Cookies, 2016

The Santa Barbara, Calif., native received her Bachelor of Arts in art practice at the University of California at Berkeley and a Master of Fine Arts in ceramics from the California College of Arts and Crafts. In 2007, she relocated to Missoula, Mon., to participate in a long-term residency at The Clay Studio of Missoula, where she serves as Executive Director.

Valenzuela has taught at Flathead Valley Community College in Kalispell, Mon.; University of Montana; Oregon College of Art and Craft in Portland, Ore.; The Clay Studio of Missoula; Missoula Art Museum; Richmond Art Center in Richmond, Calif.; ASUC Studios at UC Berkeley in Berkeley, Calif. and California College of the Arts Extended Education in Oakland, Calif. She has also participated in summer artist residencies at the Archie Bray Foundation for the Ceramic Arts in Helena, Mon.,(2006) and Watershed Center for the Ceramic Arts in Newcastle, Maine (2004, 2011).

Happy Birthday Mary!


Pewabic’s cofounder, Mary Chase Perry Stratton,was born on this day in 1867 in the small mining town of Hancock, MI. An active artist and entrepreneur at a time when women didn’t even have the right to vote, Mary had a profound impact on Detroit’s artistic and cultural life. She was a founding member of the Detroit Arts & Crafts Society and later served as a trustee of what is now the Detroit Institute of Arts. She established the ceramics department at the University of Michigan, taught at Wayne State University, and was awarded honorary degrees from both schools. Most of all, she was an artist and passionate advocate for beautiful work crafted by hand.

With Pewabic, she created a vibrant pottery that helped shape the architectural fabric of Detroit. We are proud to be continuing the remarkable legacy of craftsmanship she began more than a century ago. In honor of her milestone anniversary, we will be celebrating her creative spirit throughout the year. We’ll be introducing new glazes, revisiting some of her original designs, and showcasing her history in an exhibition of work from our archives.

Be sure to follow us on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and sign up for our newsletter  to follow along for this year long celebration!