Artist Statement:

I grew up with my hands in the earth. My palms scooped and patted soil into flower pots in gardens. My fingers worked to shape soaked sand into a lopsided castle on the shore of Lake Michigan near my childhood home. I shoveled dirt by the fistful, burying a time capsule in the park to rediscover years later. I was constantly digging out grime from underneath my fingernails, but that did not deter me. The earth was tangible. It was familiar and comforting. It was a medium to mold, shape, carve, sculpt, prod, and play with. 

My hands then discovered clay: smooth, wettish, fine-grained earth, prime material to design and construct. The versatility of ceramics is a source of serenity for me. A calm vigilance is needed to throw on the ceramic wheel, teaching patience and self-care. Turn the wheel too fast or spread the clay too thin and the piece will be destroyed. Having a palpable medium to work with quells anxieties, and channeling my struggles creatively offers space for reflection. 

            Ceramics has become a vehicle through which I protect and share my essence. My pieces are a celebration of the inspirations and challenges I have encountered. When I am behind the wheel, judgments, expectations, and insecurities are molded into an expression of my authentic self. There is no doubt that the grit beneath my fingernails will endure.


Artist Bio:

Loren Vladem is a ceramicist, sculptor, and printmaker. An early interest in the arts drove her to enroll in drawing, painting, and ceramics classes at her local community house, where her passion for ceramics took hold. Moving to Santa Fe for high school and at first struggling to acclimate, ceramics provided Loren the same sense of belonging she experienced in her hometown community house. She took a ceramics class every year of high school, supported the Santa Fe Opera with set design, spent hours at Santa Fe Clay and Paseo Pottery. Continuing her passion for community arts, Loren has volunteered at ARTsmart, a nonprofit that teaches art and literacy to youth and engaged in a hunger awareness charitable project entitled “Empty Bowls,” where profits were donated to a local food depot. In addition to ceramics, the artist has experience welding steel and carving wood under multimedia sculptor Jamie Burnes; and has worked with fiberglass, resin, and wax casting under sculptor Jacob Burmood. Loren is currently finalizing her BFA at the Kansas City Art Institute.