Artist Statement

Kevin Mcniff

My work is based around the concept of an evolving experience. This is achieved by considering function and interaction with each work that is created. Since my work spans functional personal items to larger scale installation pieces this function and interaction is differs based of the intended function and size of the piece.

My utilitarian pots are created with the use and interaction of thrown form and surfaces with hand in mind when it is made. With a focus on how a vessel interacts with the hand through its form and surface. The interaction should be an evolving, one that grows with depth though use finding the surfaces imperfection and undulations and learning them and their comfort in your hand as you bask in the experience of the moment and the interaction between the work and individual. This could be aroma of the morning coffee or tea, the taste and warmth of the fresh stew, the memories of friends and family gathered for a meal.

For my larger work I am interested on its interaction with you the space it holds or in some the sounds scape it can create. Surface and its appeal or inflection of a feel is as important to its perceived inner volume and in some cases resonance. This work is less of a focus on an intimate interaction that can be achieved with a smaller piece and more focus on a visual and/or in some cases an audible enrichment of space. This audible enrichment focuses on the use of resonation chambers used to enhance sound creation in fountains, bells, or standalone wind instruments
This multifaceted experience to me is the key of truly experiencing a piece. How does its use and your interaction with it enrich your daily experience and life? The enrichment of a space through a fountain using a resonation chamber to enrich and change the sound of each drop into a unique harmonic experience


I am a studio technician at the Jackson County Green Energy Park where I maintain all of the equipment for the glass blowing, blacksmithing studios and our wood fire kilns. I have a love of technical things and knowing how something works as well as traditional modes of making.

My first venture into ceramics was in the 6th grade and it has stuck with me since then. I continued my exploration into ceramics throughout my high school years into my Undergraduate studies at Ferrum college and my graduate school studies at Western Carolina University where I completed my Master of Fine Arts with a focus in ceramics. I have had a continued interest through out my studies in different firing techniques focusing on surface and atmospheric effects available through different firing methods.

My growth through the years as an artist has been heavily influence by my love of historical forms and my interaction with Japanese and Korean culture while growing up, specifically related to the concepts within the idea of Wabi-Sabi. A general idea of Wabi-sabi is the acceptance of transience and imperfection the beauty of imperfection, change and decomposition/age. The interest for which came from Korean and Japanese cultures through my early involvement with martial arts which lead to an interest in Buddhist and Shinto religions. These two things inform the why I look at and approach my work. A large part of my work deals with surface quality so my interest in different firing techniques has continued to grow because of this, each firing technique having its own pros and cons for the surfaces and colors it can provide. When making a piece I like to think about the larger picture of its particular use, its overall aesthetics, and the daily rituals it may be involved in. I then consider what I can do to enrich that experience and make it unique, how I can make it grow and evolve with each consecutive interaction. This can range from a comfortable handle to an indentation that lets the form rest comfortably in the hand or a ridge or design the finger can worry over while you enjoy a cup of tea or coffee.