Even though pottery, one of the oldest human inventions, has been around for thousands of years, there still are artisans who never cease to amaze us with their creations. One of those people is Washington-based artist, Sean Forest Roberts. He effectively uses his background in chemistry and four years in science labs to experiment and develop intricate porcelain forms and patterns. One of his best-known practices is carving multi-layered ceramics to create intricate and colorful designs. Clearly, it’s not just Robert’s hobby. He is a full-time ceramicist who, alongside his partner Valeri Aleksandrov, runs the ceramic business called Forest Ceramic Company. “While I own the business, we are a team in marketing, and we have developed some of the processes together over the last five years,” Roberts told Bored Panda.
The 29-years-old artist says that his passion for pottery was born in high school, where he tried the craft for the first time. “I am often asked about my art background, and I inevitably tell my story about studying chemistry at Carleton College, with my serious hobby of ceramics, which started in High School with a love of throwing pottery on the wheel. I think it’s a fun fact that I have never taken an art class other than ceramics, and my formal education in ceramics was very minimal. My ceramic knowledge is self-taught, and I am most interested in exploring processes that are not common knowledge. I continue to learn every day through my experimentation.” While the artist has been doing ceramics for 15 years, for the last 7 years he’s working on colored porcelain.
On his Instagram account which has 359k fans, Roberts often demonstrates not only the finished products but also the whole ceramic-making process. Through the captivating videos, the artist demonstrates the surprisingly satisfying process of carving pottery. The carvings reveal a mixture of different colors and vary in shapes and sizes. “The process I use is called slipcasting. The first step is to create a prototype form on the wheel, then create a plaster mold of that form. Once the plaster mold has been made, it can be “cast” a couple of times in one day, using slip—liquefied clay—to recreate the original prototype form. After casting there are 10-12 steps to undergo for each piece, and it takes about a week to have the final product out of final glaze firing,” Roberts explains.
When asked where he seeks inspiration, the ceramicist said: “My studio is half laboratory and half playground. The majority of my inspiration comes from nature and chemistry. I bring my experimental mindset to the studio, and my work is constantly changing as I explore new techniques and materials. I thrive most when I am trying something new, and learning through the process.”
Scroll below for some of his best works and don’t forget to visit his Instagram page to see his pottery-making in action!