Carina Kooiman studied at Calvin College in Grand Rapids, MI where she graduated with a BA in Studio Art and French in 2009. While there she taught ceramics programs for youth and adults. She later moved to Pittsburgh, PA where she is currently based. Carina works at the Children’s Museum of Pittsburgh managing the Art Studio, which includes working with community artists, developing arts programming, and directing the ceramic program. She also teaches ceramics at Union Project, a community and arts center. In addition to her home studio, Carina also works out of Union Project’s cooperative ceramic studio.
I work within a mindset of experimentation. I love developing a new technique or creating a new texture, and I find it exciting to release my rigid expectation and instead let the clay take the lead. In the body of my work, you may sometimes observe hints I leave that expose the earthen nature of my material. Leaving unglazed areas can reveal clay in its bare form. Leaving cracks and allowing them to develop is an illustration of my relationship with the clay - showing how the clay reacts to the movement of my hands. I use texture and surface decoration as tools to create a sense of spontaneity and whimsy.
My ceramic work ranges from functional to sculptural, but at the end of the day I consider it to be at its core both functional AND sculptural. What continually draws me to clay is its ability to allow me to explore both of these things. I love considering the form and structure of each piece - the way that it sits in space, the pure aesthetic of its look. And yet everything is also functional. As my work enters your homes and lives, it becomes integrated into daily life and it takes on function. I invite you to adopt my work, not just into your home, but also into your lives and daily routines - use it, share it, interact with it, move it, shift it, hold it. Whether it’s a sculpture on a shelf or a mug in a hand, I take great joy in seeing it out in the world, being sculpture and holding function.