Kip O’Krongly is a functional ceramic artist working with highly decorated earthenware. Her childhood in Alaska has greatly influenced her current interest in exploring issues of agriculture, energy and transportation through daily use ceramics. Kip earned a BA from Carleton College in 2001 and continued her ceramics education in studios across the country before moving back to Minnesota to work as the Northern Clay Center Fogelberg Fellow, Materials Technician, and then Anonymous Potter Studio Fellow. Kip has been featured as a Ceramics Monthly Emerging Artist, on the cover of Pottery Making Illustrated, and was the Best in Show winner of Strictly Functional Exhibition in 2011. She exhibits work and teaches workshops across the country, is included in a number of ceramic publications and was recently awarded a 2014 $25,000 McKnight Artist Grant. O’Krongly currently maintains a studio in Northfield, Minnesota.
"I use functional pots as a vehicle for setting tables with visual stories. Through everyday ceramic pieces I can subtly, and even a little subversively, explore my interest in issues surrounding food production, transportation, energy use and climate change. Researching these interconnected contemporary themes drives my current studio practice, but the seeds of this work were sown over twenty years ago. As a child in Alaska I witnessed first hand the devastation wrought by the expansive Exxon Valdez oil spill of 1989. In the following decades, the essence of that childhood experience simmered beneath the surface, ebbing and flowing with the world’s evolving energy story. My subconscious inklings became concrete realities after reading The Omnivore’s Dilemma by food activist Michael Pollan. Pollan’s book identified a thread running through agriculture, pesticides, fertilizers and oil – intertwining layers that have since become prominent themes in my work. As his writing shaped my mental framework, I aimed to translate Pollan’s words into meaningful imagery, to bring ideas off the page and place them squarely in reality as physical objects at the table."