SEIZE THE CLAY: Katie Reeves Reclaims Her Femininity Through Ceramic Art
Menomonie artist forges path with functional pieces whose purpose goes beyond the surface
The form, function, and aesthetic a piece of art takes evoke distinct reactions in the eye of the beholder, and a local artist’s work is warranting an intimate reaction using a medium you might not have expected.
Katie Reeves is a functional ceramic artist from Menomonie with a flair for expressing herself through her work. Reeves crafts dishware including cups, mugs, bowls, teapots, jars, and has recently expanded her portfolio to include ceramic earrings and other jewelry pieces. While the pieces may look fairly conventional at first glance, the meaning infused into each piece lies deep within the handcrafted clay she uses in the art itself.
“My sexuality plays a large role in what I make; as a lesbian, I am very attracted to femininity,” Reeves said. “I used to reject femininity altogether. To me, femininity was rooted in patriarchy and oppression and was essentially being defined and controlled by men. However, through my recent body of work, I have been able to reclaim femininity. I’ve come to realize that femininity can be defined however I choose. To me, it means comfort, power, beauty, delicacy, and sensuality. Having reclaimed femininity and being able to define it myself has made me fall in love with it. This entire process has also helped me fully accept my sexuality.”
Reeves began crafting ceramics at 13, leading to her graduating from UW-Stout last December with a double major in Art Education and Studio Art-Ceramics. She has already been making a name for herself in the local art community, displaying her work in exhibitions at the university, being recently featured as Artist of the Month at Raw Deal in Menomonie, and having her work in shows in Texas and Ohio. The day-to-day showcase of her work takes place on Instagram, where she is able to display her art to a consistently growing online fanbase.
Since graduating from UW-Stout, Katie has focused her pursuits on forging a career in the art world by applying for residencies all over the country, and prepping a website where she can exhibit and sell her work.
“Art is an opportunity to do something therapeutic and explore my spirituality at the same time,” Reeves said. “It’s also a way for me to constructively use my energy and time, so art serves many different roles in my day-to-day experience. This is what I feel I was born to do, so whenever I do anything ceramics-related, I feel as though I’m fulfilling my purpose.”
Her work features direct references to antiquity, specifically Baroque and Rococo ornamentation. The detailing work Reeves adds to her pieces is utilized to elicit a particular feeling from the consumer.
“I am interested in the intimate moments that happen when someone uses my work, such as how the piece feels in the hand and on the mouth,” Reeves said. “I attach sprigs on the lips of my cups and mugs; this sprig goes in the mouth when the user takes a drink out of the vessel. The textures of the sprig are then felt on the tongue in an incredibly sensual way. There are many textures for the hands to explore on each piece. The suppleness of the curves and the textures of the slip trailing are meant to invite the viewer to run their fingers along each moment. I enjoy watching the user interact with the piece as they discover every texture.”
Check out Reeve’s art on Instagram @kreevesceramics.