Richard Aerni

Richard Aerni

Richard is newly represented by West End Gallery. We’re thrilled to welcome such a talented artist to the Gallery!

Please note: Artwork shown above are examples of Richard’s work. Each ceramic sculpture and glaze are unique. Due to the nature of handmade artwork, variations in shape, size and color will occur. Contact us at the Gallery directly to see what we currently have on display and available for sale. 

How I came to clay:

I came to clay by accident.  After a New Year’s Eve party in the early 1970’s, the room in which I had been told I could sleep turned into a gallery of wood-fired pots at first light.  The colors and textures of the glazes captivated me.  A couple of years later, when I found some free time from the restaurant in which I was part owner, I took a class at the local pottery…six weeks of Tuesday nights, 6-9 pm…it was enough to hook me.

Though I have no formal education in clay, or art for that matter, I have managed to make my living as a potter for over forty years.  It has been my good fortune to share the company and talents of many an accomplished potter on my journey to competency in clay.  All of them have left their mark on me, as have the many mistakes and false starts I have made along the way. 

Eventually I discovered the processes that have marked the parameters of my work—ash glazes and single firing.  I feel in tune with the patterns and textures the ash creates, and the decision to single fire led me down paths which have greatly influenced the way that I visualize, form, and finish the pots.  The look of the ash glazes has not paled over the thirty nine years I have worked with them.  They have changed along the way, and change still, and that search for, and exploration of their nature is part of the joy and challenge I find in clay.

I work alone in the studio, doing everything from unloading the clay off the truck to packing and shipping the pots as they come out of the kiln.  The rhythms of the studio, the pace of potting, are things that I have grown accustomed to and love.  The lifestyle of the potter, where the work never stops, but which also leaves time to cook, garden, and attend to the many details of family life, is one of the great benefits I enjoy.  The knowledge that the pots I make go out into the world, into the lives of those who choose them, still leaves me with deep feelings of gratitude and humility.

Richard Aerni

Artist Statement:

It’s hard to know whether the work gets simpler or more complex as the years go by.  On the one hand, I strive for forms which are forceful, striking, and clear.  On the other, I aim for surfaces which involve multiple layers of slip and glaze.  The successful piece marries the form and glaze in an interplay which engages the senses,  reminding the viewer of the natural world about oneself and evoking an emotional response. 

I’m never sure whether a piece’s success comes about because of the constant internal dialogue within me, or because I’ve managed to quell all of the internal “noise” and somehow connect with the simple path towards the clarity I seek.

Richard Aerni