First of all, shout out to all of you living.life.fearless!!! We thank you for the growing support and we look forward to hearing more of your stories, so that we might be able to share those experiences with the #LLF community, to relate to, share, and learn more about ourselves and each other. =)
Now back to the main event! Our first Artist Spotlight! Introducing Ceramic Artist and Assistant Professor at Doane College: Eric Stearns
I had the opportunity to meet and speak with Eric while in my senior year of high school in North Platte, NE. He was at the school visiting one of our art teachers and gave the art students some encouraging words. My teacher insisted that I show him the art I was working on in class but I was nervous and didn’t want to. However, I did anyways, and I’m glad I did. He told me that my work was great and that I was as good as some art college graduate students and that if I wanted to, that I could have a future in art. Needless to say he made a lasting impression. I started College as a business major and switched majors after meeting an encouraging professor, just as Stearns did in college. Meeting Eric was one of several important moments that helped me decide to become an artist. That is why I chose to make him the first Artist spotlight on #LLF. Eric Stearns is living.life.fearless because he took charge of his life and decided to dedicate his time to learning about, and creating what he loves, despite the fear of uncertainty. Now he continues on as a respected professional in his field and continues to inspire others to follow their passion.
His pieces are in the Japanese style of Raku, which is characterized by low firing temperatures (resulting in a fairly porous clay body) and the removal of pieces from the kiln while still glowing hot. In the traditional Japanese firing process, the pot is removed from the hot kiln and put directly into water or allowed to cool in the open air.
To see a video of the artist during the Raku process click here.
“I really enjoy this style because of the unpredictability of the final piece,” he said. “It’s like Christmas everyday, I love just seeing how a piece turns out.”
About The Artist: Eric Stearns in his own words
Born and raised on a ranch near North Platte, Nebraska, I earned a Bachelor of Arts Degree with a Professional Emphasis in 2003 from Doane College in Crete, Nebraska. After college, I opened my first studio, Stearns Ceramics, in North Platte, NE. After teaching full-time, as well as assisting my family on the ranch, I decided to commit more fully to my art and received a Master of Fine Arts at Fort Hays State University in 2008 studying under Linda Ganstrom.
Developing a professional level of proficiency on the potter’s wheel while in graduate school, I devoted long hours and careful attention to the craft of pottery. Immersed in the academic art community, I absorbed lessons from potters and sculptors. Translating their concepts and techniques into my own style combined with my love of mathematical designs and the labor intensive craft of carving and piercing, my vessels are unique, intricate and elegant. Further inspired by contemporary art, I traveled to NCECA, (National Council on Education for the Ceramic Arts) and SOFA, (Sculptural Objects and Functional Art) as well as various local exhibitions and conferences. These travels raised my expectations for my art and inspired me to strive to create the highest quality professional work in my field.
Finding harmony and relaxation while on the potter’s wheel, I focus totally on the present and the craft of throwing, knowing that a second’s distraction or inattention could result in the collapse of my extreme forms. Challenging myself to build a vocabulary of various shapes and scales that will act as a canvas for my designs, each of my vessels are individually designed and executed to reflect my passion for high craft married with contemporary expression.
My work concentrates on precision vessels whose exterior forms have been mathematically pierced to create an interest to the interior. Attracting the viewer’s gaze and sense of touch through the ever-changing relationship between light and dark, solid and permeable, smooth and rough, these vessels offer spiritual illumination through contemplation.