Matthew Schiemann | Episode 235
Matthew Schiemann is a second-generation potter that grew up watching and helping his dad create ceramic works. This early exposure taught Matt to appreciate the handmade object and eventually to choose the field of ceramics for himself. He received his Bachelors of Arts in Sculpture and Ceramics from Ashland University in 2005 and his Masters of Fine Arts in Ceramics at Southern Illinois University Carbondale in 2009.
While in graduate school, Matt worked as Harris Deller’s personal assistant and as a Teaching Assistant for the wheel throwing and industrial design courses. During this time, he began building his own body of work focused on functional pottery fired in atmospheric kilns.
After graduating from Southern Illinois University Carbondale, Matt was accepted as an artist in residence at the St. Petersburg Clay Company. Shortly after being accepted as A.I.R. Matt became an adjunct professor at Eckerd College for PEL program’s ceramics department. In October of 2010, Matt became co-owner/director of the St. Petersburg Clay Company.
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How do you find the motivation to work after work?
Really the firings are what keeps me going. I sketch a lot when I get new pots that come out of the kiln and that usually kind of fuels me. That is the beginning of the end of a making cycle. So today we just loaded up the wood kiln and we will be firing it tomorrow and Wednesday and we will unload on Friday and Saturday which means on Sunday when my wife and I go to the beach I will probably be sketching pots that came out of the that kiln and writing down new ideas. The firings really keep me going, especially wood firings, I feel like they can be a little better each time.
You work in a community center right now, do you ever get concerned when and if you have to leave that you will get lonely?
That is a concern we have talked about if I ever worked out of my own studio, but at the same time I am very much an introvert and I don’t mind being alone. So it’s not a huge deal but I would definitely miss some of the aspect of the amount of people that come through here.
Why wood firing?
In undergrad all we had was a reduction kiln so any atmosphere kilns were kind of a mystery to me, so when we went into graduate school there was a wood kiln that was there and it really just kind of hit the spark for me. I liked the mystery that came behind it of not knowing exactly what is going to happen. I like the community aspect of it a lot. I grew up playing sports so I like taking a lead on the shifts and orchestrating it and you’ve got a goal that you need to do with this team of people. I’ve always kind of really liked that part of it.
What makes a good post for Instagram?
I think actually seeing the pots being used. Something that is utilizing the pots not just in the home but taking them some place else. I think that’s always an interesting thing to do.
What is your favorite part of the making process?
The throwing part. Without a doubt. There is something about just being on that wheel. It’s so hypnotic I can’t get over that part of it.
So you were raised around ceramics, what is your favorite childhood memory for pottery?
So my dad made most of the things we had in our home that were ceramic and he made all the lamps that were in our house. I can remember being four or five and going across the street to my friend’s house and they had a lamp that was there and it was not ceramic. I remember being very confused because I thought my dad had invented lamps and I did not understand why they had a lamp that was not something my dad had made.
Describe your absolutely perfect date with your wife.
Well in three weeks we are leaving to go to Europe so I think this is about to be probably the most perfect date. We are going to Copenhagen and then to Venice and then to Munich and then to Oslo and back for ten days. So that is going to be a pretty awesome date.