Natalie Novak

Functional Pottery.

Process Photo- Natalie Novakweb


My work is inspired by the traditions of medieval English slipware, Early American Saltglaze wares and aesthetics of contemporary utilitarian work being made in the South. I am particularly inspired by their use of form and simple surface decoration. I find meaning in the connections drawn between these influences, as each lineage uses subtle surface decoration and modest embellishments to reflect distinctiveness of the craftsman. This interest has greatly influenced the attention to detail present in my work, while also serving as a celebration of tradition still present in today’s society.

The designs I create are evidence that decoration draws from history and is a reaction to form. I rely on the simple elements of line and color to respond to the form in a non-narrative approach. From delicate hand-drawn motifs to slight imperfections of the clay, the work I create displays the touch of the maker through evidence of the hand. I utilize the potter’s wheel to repetitively create my wares; this process allows me to refine the form and I am reminded of the inherent beauty of functional pottery and its role in our everyday lives. My hope is for my work to bring warmth and comfort into the lives of its user, while also celebrating the craft traditions of hand-made pottery.

Natalie Novak was born and raised in rural middle Tennessee. She completed her Bachelors of Science in Psychology with a Minor in Studio Art at Cumberland University in Lebanon, TN in 2013. She is currently enrolled at the Appalachian Center for Craft where she is a candidate of the Bachelor of Fine Arts program with a concentration in clay. Here, she focuses in utilitarian wares with an interest in salt and wood kiln firing.