Philadelphia artist Peter Cunicelli creates dramatic clay vessels that are functional, yet stand alone as pieces of art. See more of his portfolio by visiting his website.
I live in Philadelphia and have been a ceramic artist for twenty-one years. During this time, I have worked to master my style and craft.
I began by taking throwing classes at a local art center, where I soon discovered a love for hand building instead.
I began to explore forms by taking traditional forms and building four-sided, angled pieces. I continued working at the art center for another four years until I finally got a studio of my own.
Once on my own, I started exploring other clay bodies (porcelain, high fire stoneware, mid fire stoneware, Basalt and low fire terra cotta) as well as various firing techniques like Raku, wood firing, soda firing, oxidation and reduction.
I develop my clay pieces to express not just their actual form, but also the space around them. I like playing with shadows and movement. During the last five years I have really worked on sharpening my altering skills. I pull out and push in to create dramatic shadows that are as important to the form as its lines.
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I work to create forms that are bold and dynamic. I try to walk a fine line between art and craft and am constantly trying to grow as an artist. Most of my work is functional, but my forms can also sit alone as a piece of art.
I am interested in building and expanding the process of creating forms that are balanced and yet push the boundaries between the dramatic and the refined.
Due to Covid-19, no scheduled shows, and a lack of space to store work, I’ve decided to transition to using porcelain. My forms take a few hours to form. The stoneware forms are thicker and more substantial, but the clay isn’t as temperamental.
The thickness of the porcelain slabs is between 1/8 and ¼ inch—very thin. I want to take advantage of the translucency of porcelain, but am working on first mastering assembling them without them drying too fast or cracking.
Production is slow but it’s the most gratifying work I have done in a while. I thrive on the challenge.
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