The Upstate New York Ceramics Invitational at Main Street Arts will feature functional and sculptural ceramic work by 13 artists from the region. This invitational represents some of the most exciting contemporary ceramic work being made in upstate New York.

The exhibition will be held July 11–August 29, 2015.
Online purchasing will begin in mid-July.

Kala Stein

Canadice ceramic artist Kala Stein
Kala Stein

Q: Where are you from originally and where are you now?
A: I am originally from Springwater, NY and relocated throughout the east in my late teens and twenties when I was studying ceramics. I returned to the Finger Lakes area when I began graduate school at the NYS College of Ceramics at Alfred University.  I now live in Canadice, NY in a refurbished 1959 sleep away camp that my husband and I operate as summer vacation rentals. Link: Woodland Retreat

Q: When did you realize you wanted to be a ceramic artist?
A: When I was studying graphic design at SUNY New Paltz I missed the labor and dirt-under-the-finger-nails, back to the land, lifestyle I had grown up with, on a small homestead in Springwater, NY. I found this type of work and intensity in the ceramics studio where the magic of throwing a bowl from a couple of pounds of clay seemed aligned with the wonder of growing food from seed or raising livestock. The collective experience of the ceramics studio was intellectually and socially engaging for me and by my junior year in college I was at the point of no return.

Q: Did you make other types of artwork before finding ceramics? Do you currently make other work?
A: I am working on designing and building a small, efficient home with my husband. It is a work in progress where we have incorporated reclaimed materials, hand-harvested and milled woods, sensitivity to the landscape and sustainable lifestyle.

Q: Do you have an artistic hero or an artist you look up to?
A: 
There are so many! I especially admire Betty Woodman and her work not only as a pioneering female artist but also as a world traveler and recognized master craftsman and avant-garde thinker.

Q: What is your largest source of inspiration?
A: I am inspired by many, many outside sources of natural beauty, antiquities, and timeless design but ideas really flow for me when I am able to focus in the studio for lengths of time, analyze my work, and visualize new moves and directions to explore. There is no other inspiration or motivation like this- when momentum is in motion, time falls away, and ideas flow freely.

Q: Do you look forward to opening the kiln? Or do you wince at the thought of something going wrong in there?
A: Both!  Clay is full of dualities and surprises. The kiln is the physical manifestation of this. Before I open the kiln, if there is nothing to wonder or worry about, I know I am not my pushing my work or myself as I should.

Q: What is it like being a ceramic artist in Upstate NY?
A: Being a ceramic artist in Western NY is at once lonely and full of company. I am an anomaly in my community because I have a rural studio in a small town, I share this position with Robin Whiteman whose studio is next door. Since I am linked with clay artists in Rochester, Buffalo, Canandaigua, Corning, Syracuse, Alfred, and everywhere in between, I always have a support network and inspiring acquaintances.

Q: Is there anything strange or unique that people might not know about you?
A: I am an obsessive multi-tasker and proponent of efficient, careful, conscious existence. Something else people don’t know about me–I lived in a teepee the first 6 months of my life in the Blue Ridge Mountains of Virginia!

Kala Stein
Kala Stein
Kala Stein
Kala Stein
Kala Stein
Kala Stein

Where can people see more of your work/follow you?
Instagram: @kalasteindesign

Check out the previous Q & A with ceramic artist Jody Selin.

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Closed 7/28 through 8/3:

We will be closed to the public Friday, July 28 through Thursday, August 4 as we install our next exhibition, Inspired By Nature. Please join us for the opening reception on Friday, August 4 from 5 to 8pm!