About Warren Frederick
Warren Frederick became entranced by clay’s transformative potential in 1981. After an engineering PhD from Northwestern University, Frederick’s initial career that began as a social scientist at the Urban Institute in Washington, DC, was forever interrupted by an encounter with clay. “Not too warped” by a subsequent MFA degree, Frederick became a professional potter in the early 1980s. “I am always questioning and honing my work. Aesthetic discernment began as a kid hovering over the kitchen table, intensely gazing at and choosing among my Dad’s photographs fresh from the basement darkroom.” Frederick began to use photography as an alternative aesthetic tool, when he began to be away from his studio during repeated summer travels. “Currently, I juggle between clay, wood, photography, and graphic design, entranced by these mediums that let me infiltrate art into life, yet puzzled by their tactile and conceptual incongruities.”
Frederick has lived in Warrenton, Virginia since 1988, sharing a studio with fellow artist and wife, Catherine White. Aesthetically, there’s an imaginary double yellow line splitting the studio in half as they separately pursue their independent visions. Mechanically, however, they assist each other in clay mixing, kiln firing, and the many facets of studio life. He collaboratively exploits a wood-fired anagama kiln as well as a gas-fired kiln.
Frederick’s pottery has been in over fifty exhibitions across the United States. His work is included in the collections of the Mint Museum of Craft + Design, Charlotte, North Carolina; the Renwick Gallery (Smithsonian American Art Museum), Washington, DC; the Kennedy-Douglass Center for the Arts, Florence Alabama; and the Schein-Joseph International Museum of Ceramic Art, Alfred, New York. He has written articles and reviews for Ceramics: Art and Perception, Ceramics Technical, American Ceramics, Ceramics Monthly, and The New Art Examiner. Other published essays have explored the connections between contemporary and historical work in African and Korean ceramic art.
I am entranced by pottery’s ability to infiltrate art into life. If genuinely treated as a physically usable art, pottery impels multiple creative collaborations between its maker and those attuned to the aesthetic potential of actual use—with food, drink, flowers, or for storage. For me, transforming the mundane into objects pregnant with idea and emotion requires an eloquent balance of austerity, intrigue, and directness.
Use never precludes contemplation. By its very nature, pottery conveys historical and spiritual glimpses. My process frequently tensions the familiar with the unfamiliar, questions whether forms have been reduced to their essential elements, and pursues an understated palette. I believe that by creating some essence of incompleteness, an emptiness beyond volume, momentum towards creative use is enhanced.