Beck selected as 2023 Emerging Artist
calendar icon19 Jul 2023
Lincoln, Neb.--Casey Beck, a third-year Master of Fine Arts student in ceramics in the School of Art, Art History & Design, is among 21 ceramic artists nationally chosen as 2023 Emerging Artists by “Ceramics Monthly” magazine.
There were more than 760 applicants to this year’s annual Emerging Artist competition.
“I was very honored and excited to be chosen as a Ceramics Monthly Emerging Artist this year,” Beck said. “Ceramics Monthly is a publication that shows a lot of wonderful ceramic artists, processes, thoughts, etc., and it is amazing to be able ot share some space in the magazine with many other folks—many that I look up to. It feels like one of those important milestones in my career.”
Beck’s current technical research focuses on the process of soda firing.
“This process involves a kiln that is heated with the combustion of natural gas,” Beck said. “At peak temperature, around 2300°F, I introduce sodium carbonate into the kiln, which volatizes and is attracted to the silica within the clays to form a glaze on the surface of my vessels. Essentially, rather than glazing my work, then firing it, I glaze the work during the firing. Due to the uneven flow of the fire through the kiln and specific placement of the wares within, I am able to create marks unique to this process and unique to each firing that directly relates to the path the flame took to move through the kiln.”
Beck said he makes pottery that is intended to be used daily.
“Once a pot is done being made, it’s not done—it needs to be used,” he said. “I get a great sense of pleasure from using pottery. Each pot in my collection isn’t only an object, but a means of nourishment, a memory and a space to hold further memories.”
Beck took his first ceramics class as a freshman in high school about 12 years ago and was hooked immediately.
“Many folks call it the clay bug—I certainly caught it,” he said. “Truly, I love every aspect of ceramics—from the community that it creates, to the process of making it and using it.”
After completing his Bachelor of Fine Arts degree in ceramics at the University of Wisconsin-River Falls in 2019, Beck spent two years living and working in St. Paul, Minnesota. During this time, he continued to make pottery and research soda firing. He also worked in the Sales Gallery at Northern Clay Center (NCC) in Minneapolis and taught classes.
He has also been a resident artist at the Cub Creek Foundation in Virginia and was awarded the 2020 Jerome Ceramic Artist Project Grant through NCC. This summer, he is an artist-in-residence at Faenza Art Ceramics Center in Italy.
“Following that, I have been invited to Parma, Italy, with my work to lead and teach a wood and soda firing workshop in which I will also be firing all of my work,” Beck said. “During the cooling of this kiln, I will be offering a two-day making workshop in the studio.”
He is thankful for his time in the School of Art, Art History & Design.
“Graduate school at UNL has been integral to the recent growth of my work and career, without a doubt,” he said. “The immense support that the faculty offer and relationships that I have had the opportunity to be a part of over the past year have been truly meaningful. Inherently, ceramics is communally based and being able to be a part of a caring and lively community within the university has created an environment in which we can all grow exponentially as individuals and makers.”
For more on Beck or to see his work, visit his website at https://www.beckpots.com.