Artist: Mark Nafziger
Mark Nafziger, OHIO
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Comment on Yunomi Invitational – Akar Gallery
There are many functional potters across the country today, who are working away in relative anonymity. Recognized within their particular region, they exhibit, show and sell to fulfill the demand for pottery of all types and styles. Often they are actively involved in teaching and encouraging the arts in various ways within their communities.
I don’t exhibit a lot. For six months of the year, I work in front of the public and sell direct from the studio, a couple craft shows and a few galleries. But when invited, I eagerly respond to give workshops or to participate in exhibits. I was honored and excited to be included in the 2014 Yunomi Invitational. Since its inception, the Akar Gallery has given and continues to give many of us an opportunity to be seen and recognized on a broader stage.
I never planned on being a potter. I attended Goshen College with the original intent of being a math teacher. In the course of my studies, I took an art class to fulfill one of my electives. Before long, I was exposed to clay and I became totally immersed. I ended my education with a degree in mathematics and art. When the opportunity arose to set up my own business at Sauder Village back home in Archbold, Ohio, I thought that I would try it for “awhile.” “Awhile” has now been since 1981.
My main focus has been to make pots that have a job to do. Functional ceramics does not mean that the pieces merely reference a use, but actually work. In the end, the user, not the maker, defines the “job”. I don’t know any potter that follows the customer home to see how the piece is being used! The goal is to create work, comfortable in its use, but ultimately producing an aesthetic experience.
Pots with a Purpose (selected works), Ohio Crafts Museum, Columbus OH. July 8- August 19, 2012
Ohio Potters …. Today, Clay Place, Carnegie PA., May 11 – June 3, 2012
Strictly Functional Then and Now, NCECA exhibit, March 30-April 2, 2010
Wooster Functional Ceramics Exhibit, The Wayne Center for the Arts, Wooster OH. March 23 –April 19 2008
Contemporary Ohio Ceramics, Canton Museum of Art, April 21- July 22, 2007 purchase award for permanent collection
Contemporary Functional Ceramics: Transcending Utilitarian Concerns, Fort Wayne Museum of Art August 20 – October 30, 2005
21st Century Ceramics in the United States and Canada, October 11 – December 7, 2003, Columbus College of Art and Design, Columbus OH