Ron Netten

Storm Lake, IA


Recently, I’ve been able to complete several commission works and still have the time to explore and continue a study of functional and decorative stoneware pieces.  The main body of my work is primarily utilitarian with the emphasis towards strong forms and playful alterations and impressions.  The colors in glazes and clay bodies are important to me.  Finding glazes which combine with others to find new colors is something I’m constantly searching for and desire more time to do.  Clay and glaze materials come from rock and when joined with fire and the reduction atmosphere of a gas kiln offers a myriad of color combinations by overlapping and use of slip decoration.  At heart I’m still a die-hard formalist, allowing clay to speak for itself, with spontaneity and ease. 

 The past several years, I have been experimenting with slab and thrown wall platters, which provides a large surface for manipulation and color.  Eventually these works developed into a series of abstract landscapes.  At first, the platters seemed a little tight and busy, but eventually loosened up to larger more fluid forms with surface reliefs and colors.  The larger they became the more exciting it was, but the flip side to that is the technical demand on the clay drying and firing also magnified.  Flat, open forms are subject to cracking due to the uneven drying and warping.  Clay and fire has a way of keeping one humble; it simply reminds me there is always more to learn about your material and its’ processes. I’m always seeing how God’s creation is full of infinite unity and variety.  I simply see myself as someone who enjoys being a re-arranger of His materials.