Austin P. Smith Ceramics
Austin P. Smith is the artist and maker behind Camden Clay Company. He studied ceramics at Bennington College from 2003-2007, and has maintained a studio in Maine ever since. He is inspired by his home state's coastal landscape and waterways, which is especially evident in his Chart Series. Austin primarily enjoys working in slip cast porcelain, and has studied with such highly regarded slip casting artists as Andy Brayman, Tom Spleth, and Steven Heinemann. He has been both a student, and teachers' assistant at Haystack Mountain School of Crafts, and a short-term resident at Watershed Center for the Ceramic Arts.
Water’s rhythmic power of erosion and deposition forms the ever-changing coastal landscape of my home state, Maine. This is not unlike my approach to clay as a medium. In slip-casting, there is a constant give and take of material - carving away and filling in. As the saying goes, “You could not step twice into the same river.” Neither can you cast the same mold twice. Each time I pour liquified porcelain clay into a plaster mold it alters the mold, and each time I pull a piece out of a mold I learn something new, thus altering my knowledge and perception as an artist.
Growing up navigating the waters of Penobscot Bay, those colors, textures, and images are deeply ingrained in my sense of self, and I gravitate toward them in my work intuitively. I often see viewers respond to the Chart Series with an instinct to place themselves in the context of the map; to find a particular spot that holds meaning. Essentially this is what I am doing in making the work - drawing a connection between myself and this place that I have come from.
- Austin P. Smith