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Artist: Jenna Vanden Brink

Artist: Jenna Vandenbrink
Jenna Vanden Brink, PENNSYLVANIA
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For me, making functional pottery is about connections between people. I find most joy in my work when there is a communal component. My work is used to share meals, much is given as gifts, it facilitates acts of hospitality, and is a physical way for me to connect with others. It is a privilege to interact with people, through my objects, on a daily basis in such an intimate way. And, I hope the objects that I make bring joy. In my work, I make choices that celebrate the handmade quality of each piece, praising the slowness of the pots. I throw or hand-build each piece, carve original drawings onto each piece, brush on underglaze to give each piece a painterly quality. The pots are intended to find a balance between simple, fun, and refined. 

Originally from Detroit, MI, Jenna Vanden Brink ventured to Pittsburgh, PA with a group of college friends to live and work together. After managing a nonprofit ceramics program for seven years, she shifted focus to creating and teaching full-time. In Pittsburgh, she works full time as a ceramic artist and teacher. She lives with her husband and dog in their labor-of-love 1905 Victorian home.


Calvin College, Grand Rapids, MI Bachelor of English and Bachelor of Studio Arts 2005-2009

Henry VanAndel Scholarship, recognizing achievement in studio art, 2007

Ceramic Studio Artist, March 2016-present, Sole proprietor of Jenna Vanden Brink Ceramics, creating functional pottery and providing educational experiences in Pittsburgh, PA

Ceramics Program Manager, Union Project, 2013-2016

Community Arts Program Coordinator, Union Project, 2011-2013

Arts Liaison, Union Project, 2010-2011

AmeriCorps Member, KEYS Service Corps, Fall 2009-Summer 2010

Summer Art Camp Counselor, Granville Avenue Academy for the Arts, Summer 2009

Arts Administration Intern, Urban Institute for Contemporary Arts, Spring 2009

Ceramic Studio Assistant, Calvin College, Fall 2007-Summer 2009

Pittsburgh Center for the Arts, Pittsburgh, PA, 2017
Demonstrator for artist workshop on mishima

Hatch Art Studio, Pittsburgh, PA, Fall 2016-present
Demonstrator for artist workshops, various ceramic techniques

Environmental Charter School, Pittsburgh, PA, Spring 2015-Spring 2017
Established and taught in-school arts-integrated programs in collaboration with

ECS Thinking Lab, taught daily Exploratory class for 8th graders

Camp Make and Grow, Pittsburgh, PA, Summer 2015
Produced curriculum for and taught camp serving young adults with developmental disabilities

Clay Case, Pittsburgh, PA 2014-2016
Created concept, secured funding, and developed program for the Clay Case, a ceramic studio kit that brings clay programming into homes and schools

Winchester Thurston School, Pittsburgh, PA 2014-2016
Taught stained glass classes on-site as part of City as our Campus Program, taught workshop for Empty Bowls collaboration

Workshops for blind and deaf communities
Developed curriculum for and ran program for series of workshops for blind and deaf

Harvest and Create Camp, Pittsburgh, PA, Summers 2013-2015
Created model for camp that integrates farming, function pottery, and cooking for youth

Many Hands Program
Created concept for ceramic outreach program to engage thousands of community members in making and taking of clay birds, adapted by the Pittsburgh Children’s Museum as their annual MLK visiting art program

Summer Dreamers Academy, Pittsburgh, PA, Summers 2011-2015
Developed curriculum, taught, and managed program 27-day summer camp for low-income youth

Reading is Fundamental, Pittsburgh, PA, 2012-2016
Formed partnership programs integrating ceramics programs into reading activities in schools

Irons in the Fire, Companion Gallery, Humboldt, TN, 2016

CRAFTED: Ceramic Tableware, Society for Contemporary Craft, Pittsburgh, PA, 2016

Cup: The Intimate Object XI, Charlie Cummings Gallery, Gainesville, FL, 2016

CRAFTED: Ceramic Tableware, Society for Contemporary Craft, Pittsburgh, PA, 2015

Bachelor of Arts Student show, Calvin College, Grand Rapids, MI, 2009

Highland Park Pottery Tour, 2010-present, Co-founder, host, organizer

Craftsmen’s Guild of Pittsburgh, 2015-present, Member

Pittsburgh Association for the Education of Young Children

Presenter at UnConference about using the Clay Case for ceramics integration for education and development of young children, 2014

Presenter at Annual Conference, 2015

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