Jennifer Allen received her BFA (2002) from the University of Alaska, Anchorage, and her MFA (2006) from Indiana University, Bloomington. In March 2008, the National Council for the Education of Ceramic Arts (NCECA) recognized Jennifer as an “Emerging Artist”. Among other awards, she was the recipient of the 2006-2007 Taunt Fellowship at the Archie Bray Foundation in Helena, MT. In addition to keeping a home studio, Jennifer currently teaches ceramic classes at West Virginia University. As an active member of an online ceramic collective called Objective Clay, she works to promote the importance of the handmade. Jennifer lives in Morgantown, WV with her husband Shoji Satake, their two kids, Annelise and Finn and two dogs Billie and Ella.

Jen’s solo exhibition at Companion Gallery opens Thursday December 1st.

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My focus is to express sentiments of beauty and joy through porcelain tableware. Whether forming a vase that decorates a room or producing dinnerware that celebrates a meal, my work is made to honor and enhance the rhythms of home life. Driven to create for special occasions, I visualize the holiday table brimming with food, flowers and candlelight. While I enjoy the vibrant energy encircling a festive gathering, I find the contemplative moments sipping a morning cup of coffee equally as invigorating. My work is intended to live in these instances of physical and psychological nourishment.

After growing up in the mountains of Alaska as the daughter of a fish and wildlife biologist, I remain fascinated by the beauty and mystery of natural landscapes. From the breathtaking aurora borealis and mid-winter alpenglow in the Alaskan wilderness, to the drama of spring flora and the intensity of the Appalachian autumn, nature never ceases to inspire. As a result, I am compelled to interpret nature’s charm through color and texture.

As a lover of textiles and sewing, I use details such as folds, seams, darts, pleats, tufts and ruffles to relate to the craft of a seamstress. It is important that these methods of construction are evident in each finished piece. Decorative imagery is gathered from specific textile sources created during times of optimism and progress: post WWII textiles, Arts and Crafts Era designs and Edo period kimono fabrics. I render motifs into lyrical compositions in order to foster a sense of merriment. Like a scroll for a player piano, it is important that my imagery moves fluidly across the surface of the form revealing itself through use.

Determined to keep “handmade” an essential part of the contemporary home, my ongoing focus is to reinforce personal sentiments of beauty, joy, nourishment and celebration through porcelain tableware. Whether it’s a festive meal shared by many or a cup of hot cocoa indulged by one, I remain motivated by moments when pottery is in use. By making thoughtful, useful handcrafted pottery for the domestic landscape, I am inspired to enhance the home, engage the hand and enliven the spirit.

-Jen Allen