Kip O’Krongly is a studio artist and instructor living in Northfield, MN. She earned a BA from Carleton College in 2001, and continued her ceramics education in clay studios across the country before returning to Minnesota as the Northern Clay Center Fogelberg Fellow, Materials Technician, and then Anonymous Potter Studio Fellow. Kip has been featured as a Ceramics Monthly Emerging Artist, on the cover of Pottery Making Illustrated, and was a Best in Show winner of the Strictly Functional Pottery National Exhibition.
We are extremely lucky to have Kip living here in Minnesota and she is teaching a Workshop at Northern Clay Center with another one of our favorite artists; Linda Arbuckle. Their class is part of the American Pottery Festival hosted by the Northern Clay Center. The seminar is entitled Surface Solutions.
Kip says she uses functional pots as a vehicle for setting tables with visual stories. Through everyday ceramic pieces she can subtly, and even a little subversively, explore her interest in issues surrounding food production, transportation, energy use and climate change. Researching these interconnected contemporary themes drives her current studio practice, but the seeds of this work were sown over twenty years ago. As a child in Alaska she witnessed first hand the devastation wrought by the expansive Exxon Valdez oil spill of 1989. In the following decades, the essence of that childhood experience simmered beneath the surface, ebbing and flowing with the world’s evolving energy story. Her subconscious inklings became concrete realities after reading The Omnivore’s Dilemma by food activist Michael Pollan. Pollan’s book identified a thread running through agriculture, pesticides, fertilizers and oil – intertwining layers that have since become prominent themes in her work.
In Kip’s artist statement, she goes on to say: “The functionality of the pieces I create serves as a daily nudge to reflect on the interwoven nature of our lifestyle choices and the broader world around us. I deeply appreciate the process of visually wrestling with contemporary challenges on beautiful daily-use ceramics – creating functional art that by its very nature compels repeated scrutiny. Ultimately, I hope that with the regular rotation of these pots through everyday moments, users will peel back the layers of my work, open dialog with those who share their tables, and explore how their own personal actions can influence our collective future.”