Friday, June 27, 2014

Utah Arts Festival 2014: Paul Steege

Posted By and on June 27, 2014, 3:42 PM

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Competition for an artist’s booth at the Utah Arts Festival is fierce, and space is limited. Since in any given Arts Festival applicant pool there will be a good supply of ceramics to choose from, the quality of ceramics at the Utah Arts Festival is exceptionally high. ---

Some of the best ceramicists in the country come to the Utah Arts Festival. The pottery of ceramicist Paul Steege, from Nevada City, Calif. (booth 92), is some of the very best at the festival. Connoisseurs of fine pottery will recognize his mastery and creative brilliance.

His work is a fine balance between sumptuous earthiness and exuberant exoticism. Steege first discovered pottery while earning his degree at the University of Vermont in 1985. It was in a pottery co-op that Steege first got his hands moistened and gritty with clay, but not until 1994 that the kiln in his heart was finally lit. Steege said, “I went on to do workshops in the summer, and then I went around to look. There are certain forms, colors, textures that make me want to go back to my studio.”

Although his color scheme is broad and the patterns have a wide range of variety, still there is cohesiveness in the finery of his work, from the lotus blossom plates to the pin wheel bowls, the ash and Shino glazes or the astonishing turquoise blues caused by copper firing.

“What I love about ceramics is the process, and then you let go of the control," Steege said. "You have some control but you don’t know what’s going on in there. You let nature’s process take over."

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