Damian Grava

Artist Statement

Ceramic vessels are an element of daily living. Artisan craft became less necessary in the wake of the industrial revolution, but the need of those objects still exists. Making pots is a way for me to step back from the mechanical stride and connect with a rich history of makers. Experiencing daily rituals with handmade pottery is fulfilling and transformative to our consciousness. I believe the integration of artisan objects in our lives is an innate part of being us.

During my studies in ceramics and geology I realized what inspires me is not calculated or haphazard. The space between is where I find beauty and wonder.  My pots are shaped on a slow turning wheel retaining altered rims, bodies, and feet for a sense of movement. Surface texture and fire marks develop as flames weave through tumble stacked pots in a soda fire kiln. This timeless process is where I intertwine all my passions. It is here that I feel connected to the earliest makers and the natural earth processes that inspire me.


I have spent much of my life enjoying the woods, waterways, and mountains of New England and the Pacific Northwest. I have always been inspired by the relationship between landscapes, their formation, and the unique ecosystems that emerge. Observing these environments and the response of living organisms became the core of my inspiration and study. In 1999 I earned a BS in Geology with a minor in art, specializing in ceramics, from Keene State College in New Hampshire.  

I moved to Seattle in 2000 to build my life as a potter.  I became a resident at Pottery Northwest and worked with Matt Patton as a studio assistant and thrower. That 5-year residency/apprenticeship cultivated my desire to make pots that must be used in our daily rituals. I learned a great deal from workshop experiences and by working with artists at their studios and kilns. I will never stop exploring materials, firing processes, form and surface. I love being a maker of artisan objects in today’s world.

My family and I bought a house in West Seattle in 2013 where we have a studio and soda kiln. I continue to make vapor fired pots designed with the high resist flashing slips and unique kiln loading techniques I developed at Pottery Northwest. My curiosity of how color, texture, and form exists in nature will continuously prompt exploration and discovery in my ceramic work. Outside of studio practice you will find me teaching classes, gardening, working on my house and property, and spending time with my wife and daughter.