Simon Levin has been working in clay since 1990, when an elective ceramics course changed the arc of his life. Simon is a full time studio potter working exclusively with wood firing. He holds an MFA from the University of Iowa. He exhibits, teaches, builds kilns, and is published internationally. Though a writer of many bios, Simon still dislikes writing about himself in the third person. In 2013 he was a Senior Fulbright Scholar researching local materials in Taiwan. Between 2004 and 2020 his apprenticeship program has trained and influenced 22 potters. He hosts a video series on the Ceramics Arts Network, where he brings dialogue to process. Currently the Director at Large for NCECA, Simon seeks every day to advance the frontiers of clay, and evangelize for this empowering material.
Clay is pervasive. It crosses almost all cultures and times. Clay is accessible, it is underfoot, it is in our homes, our industry, our daily lives. We discover pliable clay as children playing in the dirt, and we bring it to our lips as we drink from a cup in the morning. Clay is in our theologies and how we think about ourselves. Clay unites us in these ways and allows me as an artist to discuss universality.
Fire, earth, wind, and water are the tools of every potter and are the common experience of humanity. Firing with wood allows me to evoke colors from the raw earth, capture the path of flame as it travels on the wind of the kiln. In this way, my work makes reference to elemental things we all know and see.
Making functional pottery offers me access to the home. I make recognizable ware for daily use, as well as objects that are for special occasions. I use crude marks in my work looking to avoid cultural-specific symbols but rather invite personal connection. Circles and lines, the simple geography of a wheel or a square are clear evidence of my hand in the material. I seek to make work that is familiar and elicits a comfortably rich experience.
More information about Simon can be found at: simonlevin.com