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May 19, 2023

#180 Infusing Culture and Personality into Pottery with Stephen Phillips

#180 Infusing Culture and Personality into Pottery with Stephen Phillips

What is up Shaping Nation on this episode of Shaping Your Pottery I got to interview Stephen Phillips. Stephen makes some really incredible pottery that he combined 3 different cultures together to find his own unique voice. Check out Stephen's...

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Discovering Pottery Style Through Culture | 0:00:13 - 0:00:49 (36 Seconds)

0:00:13 Speaker 1
up? Shaping Nation? This is Nic Torres here, and on this episode of Shaping Your Pottery, i got to interview Steven Phillips. Steven makes some really incredible pottery that he took a lot of time to discover his own style. In this episode, you'll learn how Steven makes combined three different cultures and made it into one to find his voice. You'll also learn about putting your own personality into your pottery and, finally, you'll learn about learning how to fix your pots if you mess up, so you can continue to evolve  


* Rediscovering Childhood Passion for Pottery | 0:03:24 - 0:04:20 (56 Seconds)

0:03:24 Speaker 2
And then they had a pottery class, a clay class, and I was like, oh my God, you know, I used to play in the mud all the time, So this is going to be interesting, Let's go see what I could do. And I was doing the stuff. I started off like little flowers and stuff, the stuff that I used to do as a kid make it out of mud, Like. So I was just like, yeah, this is pretty much close to home. And from there my professor, my first teacher, Mr Terry Cherry, and my other teacher, Mrs Lisa Spinks, it was just like you're natural, Like you can really do this. And so I just started with handbuilding. That was my start with handbuilding. I didn't master the the wheel at that time. It was a struggle to do the wheel. I actually still had like the first piece I made from the wheel somewhere around here. But yeah, it was. That was it. That was my first class And that was the start for me, is because I saw something that tied me to my childhood.  


* Pottery Passion and Finding Your Style | 0:10:45 - 0:12:17 (91 Seconds)

0:10:45 Speaker 1
So let's talk about your pottery doubt In one sentence. can you tell me what you make?  

0:10:51 Speaker 2
So, in one sentence, what I make is what I love making is the all the way quality display pieces.  

0:11:01 Speaker 1
So tell me the story, how you started making this party that you make today.  

0:11:06 Speaker 2
So the way I got started back to Ian and I have to tell the story because, like, for me, this is like the last conversation, the start of the conversation that pushed me to where I am now with my work So I started out I can make just about anything like my forms and stuff I love lit it, jars, i love bottles, you know, vases and stuff like that And he pulled me to the side, like my senior year in college, and he was just like okay, so you can make just about anything like you can. You got good forms and stuff. You can make just about any form, but the forms you're making anybody can make. So how do you take your work and make your work stand out and be your own? And so, like those are like one of the last conversations we had And so he was just like do some research, you know, play with some textures and different things like that. So I went down the whole little rabbit hole trying to find myself and playing with textures, looking at different work And I still kind of do stuff like that to this day, like looking at people work on Pinterest, instagram, facebook, whatever, google, just looking at what everybody is creating.  


* Creating Unique Pottery Through Cultural Fusion | 0:18:21 - 0:20:14 (113 Seconds)

0:18:21 Speaker 2
What I'm creating right now is pretty much based off of that last conversation I had with my professor and that set me down the whole whole line of just trying to find myself, you know, with my creativity, looking into seeing what other people was creating, what other people were doing, and then trying to find myself to stand out from what everybody else was doing. And I think I did okay. I don't think I've seen anybody else pretty much doing what I'm doing. There are other people who work it be compared, a kind of similar, have some kind of similarities. But for where I am now, i think I'm okay with where I am because I feel like I have my own voice or my own signature to my work. With both of the series that I work in, i think I have my own little thing going but yeah Love that.  

0:19:08 Speaker 1
So shaping nation, how can you combine different cultures and combine them into one to make your own pottery, your own culture with your pottery? That's my question you, so that you could start, really start thinking about these things? I love that so much, so can you give me a simplified explanation on how you create your pottery?  

0:19:29 Speaker 2
Simplified explanation. I just get on the wheel and create it. but yeah, that's pretty much what I do. I sketch out ideas I do do sketching is always good And then, for the most part, like I said, I will get on the wheel and I just throw like I get in, put my worship music on or whatever I'm planning to listen to for that day. that kind of mellows me out. And then I go from there like I create something just having this ideal in my head, and then I create it, And then I go back from creating that one piece and then I start sketching other designs based off of that one piece that I create and then just birth more pieces from there.  

0:20:13 Speaker 1
Love that, love that.  


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Stephen PhillipsProfile Photo

Stephen Phillips

Ceramic Artist

Stephen Phillips was born August 2, 1988 and raised in the small town of Crawford, MS. He attended and completed grade school at East Oktibbeha County High School, formerly known as B.L. Moor Attendance Center in 2006. Stephen Phillips has always been intrigued by the arts whether music, dance, or visual arts. His start in ceramics can be linked back to his childhood as a kid who found enjoyment in the mixing of earth with water.
His pursuit for the medium began in his attendance at East Mississippi Community College. Stephen learned the basic fundamental skills of hand building and throwing at EMCC, receiving an Associate of Arts degree in 2008. He later attended Mississippi University for Women where he began to advance his throwing skills. He has trained under a national and international ceramics artist during his enrollment. While attending MUW, Stephen became the 1st place winner in the 2011 Mississippi Collegiate Show for the category of ceramics. He has received other awards while in his pursuit as a ceramic’s artist. He received his B.F.A. from MUW in 2013. Since then, he has taught classes, given demonstrations, and artist’s talks in various places.
Stephen seeks to produce vessels that are functional, decorative, and well- crafted. He has explored with altering the vessels’ shapes and forms. He has subsequently come to the place of minimizing his alterations. Stephen states, “I enjoy the idea of being able to alter a form just slightly in the middle to leave an impression and thought that the vessels are handmade.” When creating, Stephen often reflects on his spirituality and faith, finding himself in the mindset as God created man. In 2014, Stephen started really focusing on his style and the finishing of his pieces. He has been exploring with underglazes and a few Raku techniques. In the finishing process of glazing his work, Stephen uses a combination of glazes that works well with the form of the vessel. In 2015, Stephen established Stephen’s Potter House Productions, a small studio space which can be seen in the countryside of his hometown in Crawford, Mississippi. His work has been displayed and sold in the MUW Eugenia Summer Gallery, the Rosenweig Arts Center, the R.E. Hunt’s Museum, and the Ohr-O'Keefe Museum of Art. He currently has work displayed at EMCC in their permanent collection located in Scooba, MS. Stephen Phillips currently lives in Crawford, MS and continues in his progress as a ceramic’s artist.