A. Blair Clemo is a potter and Assistant Professor of Craft and Material Studies at Virginia Commonwealth University. He received his MFA in Ceramics at the New York State College of Ceramics, Alfred University in 2010. Originally from Doylestown Pennsylvania, Clemo spent many years out west studying ceramics and working at small production potteries in Idaho and Montana. He has been an Artist in Residence at The Northern Clay Center (Minneapolis, MN), the Da Wang Culture Highland (Shenzhen, China) and the Zentrum für Keramik (Berlin, Germany) and The International Ceramics Studio (Kecskemét, Hungary) funded by the 2013 NCECA International Partnership Grant. Clemo’s utilitarian and installation work has been included in numerous solo and group exhibitions both nationally and abroad.
"My current work is primarily made from both wheel-thrown and press molded pieces combined into utilitarian forms. Combined, these ways of making question how we assess the value of one-off hand making versus more industrialized serial production.
The ornament that makes up this work begins as a press molded strip of fancy clay. As it becomes form, it is squished and distorted by the act of scoring, pinching and assembling. What remains is a tangible display of the struggle between form and ornament. The more complex and visually assertive the form becomes the more the ornament recoils, yielding to the demands of form and utility. The illusion of meticulous ornamentation is threatened by the act of making pots.
There are moments in my work of utilitarian consideration where the vocabulary of contemporary studio pottery is unmistakable. There are also moments of opulence where utilitarian concerns are second to elements of visual pleasure. These pots balance on a fine line between sincerity and irony. They are sincere in their careful craft and potential for use; yet their assertion of material value and wealth is as transitory and uncertain as our own status in an unsteady world."