About the Artist

Small, delicate and abstract, Kelly Jean’s art objects reference biological entities throughout the natural world—whether clinging to rocks in a tidal pool, swimming beneath the viewfinder of a microscope or intertwined on a forest floor—with compelling non-specificity. Her tools and techniques to create these pieces come right out of the kitchens of her two Midwestern Grandmothers (Violet and Inger). She uses many of their antique kitchen utensils, household tools, and handmade textiles. These domestic tools provide the foundation of many of her patterns and textures. Kelly Jean presses these patterns into her clay, and then each of her ceramic pieces is hand carved with dental tools, burnished, sanded, washed and waxed before the first firing. After completing the building process, Kelly Jean paints each piece with natural oxides. The work then goes through a second high temperature firing at about 2400 degrees to achieve a rich, textural and tactile finish.

“When a collector picks up one of my pieces, they see the detailed carving, feel the unique tactile quality of the surface and then also realize the piece makes sounds,” says Kelly Jean, who has an MFA from the University of Michigan. “This is my way of acknowledging that the work was meant to be touched. It’s part of the experience.”