Forrest Lesch-Middelton works in Petaluma, CA. and has an extensive background as an arts educator, studio potter, and tile maker. He received his BFA from Alfred University in 1998, and MFA from Utah State University in ‘06. He is the Former Ceramics Program Director of Sonoma Community Center. From 2013-17 Lesch-Middelton was President of the Association of Clay and Glass Artists, the nations largest clay and glass membership organization. In 2013 he was named the Ceramic Artist of the year by Ceramics Monthly Magazine. In 2016 he was a recipient of a Creative Work Fund grant for his work with Iranian calligraphy artist Arash Shirinbab. This year Lesch-Middelton is a McKnight Fellow at Northern Clay Center in Minneapolis, MN. Forrest’s pots have been featured on the on the cover of Ceramics Monthly magazine, and his architectural tile has won great acclaim, having been featured in The New York Times, Architectural Digest, Luxe, and Sunset Magazine. Forrest has been an Artist in Residence at Project Art in Massachusetts, the Mendocino Arts Center, and the Watershed Center for Ceramic Arts.
The effects the porcelain trade had on European and Islamic culture along the Silk Road, and the modern impacts of the global oil trade on the world’s populations provide the inspiration for my work. My Shapes speak of the former, while the colors and degradation of surfaces hint at the latter. The pots touch on the timeless theme of how even the subtlest influences from outside a culture can effect the direction in which that culture proceeds. To capture some of this history in my work I use silkscreen and embossment transfer techniques to add borrowed patterns to, and emphasize volume on utilitarian ceramic objects. By blending form, imagery, and surface, my goal is to create a synergy that simultaneously elicits a visceral and intellectual response, followed by a contemplation of my work as a whole.
Bridging technology and form is an essential element in my work; however, it is important that neither overwhelm the final outcome. Working with the previously mentioned principles of imagery, surface, and form I make pots that are complex in their creation, yet still illustrate the intrinsic beauty found in the everyday ceramic object. Once someone holds my pot my work is completed, when the pot holds his or her attention my work is understood.