Sebesta Pottery

Hand Built, Burnished, Distinctive

WORK

ABOUT

METHODS

CONTACT

About Karen Sebesta
I am a resident of Hudson, WI (native Minnesotan) who has a love for the art of the Southwest.  I’ve always been drawn to pottery made by the native people of Mexico and the Southwest United States, particularly the smooth feel and rich color of the highly polished black pottery and carvings and textures used to decorate the vessels.   Nearly 30 years ago, I started taking pottery classes, using the potter’s wheel and glazing functional pieces.  While I enjoyed this type of pottery, I made a style shift in 1999 after I began studying with Michael Wisner of Colorado.  Under the tutelage of Mr. Wisner and master potter Juan Quezada of Mata Ortiz, Mexico, I learned the native tradition of making clay, coil building, polishing and pit-firing pottery.
From making clay to using unique firing processes, the creation of my pottery is very labor intensive, but it’s this approach I enjoy the most.  I spend hours on each piece hand-building, sanding, polishing and then firing the pottery.  To me the pottery truly comes alive once I’ve polished/burnished it.   Over the past 14 years I've studied various pit-firing processes of blackening the pottery and using horse-hair to create singed lines on the light colored pieces.  Incorporating lessons learned in firing, I’ve also developed my own process to achieve rich earth-tone finishes, which fit well with the style of pottery I create.   Inspiration comes from many places, but mainly the shapes and color in nature and the peaceful surroundings where live.   I hope you enjoy my work…   Karen

Methods

I create pottery that is hand-built using a very ancient coiling method or other hand building techniques.  Depending on the size, design and finish, these pots can take anywhere from a few hours to several days to complete.   My pots are hand polished rather than glazed, producing a very unique finish and enhancing the natural beauty of the clay.  With this process, I use low fire clay that is very smooth and in order to achieve a very high gloss polish on my black, red, or light yellow pots, I produce my own clay.  I use deer bones, steel and stones for a high-gloss finish or nylon for a satin finish.  Because my pieces are not glazed, they cannot hold liquids or be used for food.  If desired, dried grasses, flowers or sticks may be used in the vases.
Black Pottery:
I fire pots in my kiln using a reduction technique that replicates the pit firing method used in Mexico and pueblos of the American Southwest.  The pots are placed inside an oil drum in the kiln with sawdust and then fired to approximately 1500 degrees, which burns the sawdust and evenly blackens the pottery inside and out.
Horse Hair:

After an oxidation fire I apply single strands of horse hair, which burns into the pot.  This creates the beautiful “lightning strike” lines and shading.

Pit Fired:
After an oxidation fire in the kiln, the pot is fired in an outdoor pit using a variety a materials to give subtle variations of earth tone colors.
Handling and Care:
Before the pot becomes leather hard, I use a blade to press indentations around the pot creating a detailed pattern.

Pottery Handling and Care

As with any valued art piece, fine pottery requires a few simple steps to maintain their integrity. Some works of pottery are more delicate than others, but certain preventive measures should be taken.   Although my pottery may look shiny, it is hand-polished, not glazed. The pottery is for display only. It should not come in contact with food or liquids.  Handle with clean, dry hands.   When moving pottery, support the object evenly using both hands. Avoid lifting the piece by the rim or an edge.   Keep your pottery out of direct sunlight. Ultraviolet light can cause damage and is cumulative and irreversible. If your pottery is on display near a window, close your blinds or curtains during the day to minimize exposure.   Use a soft cloth or feather duster to clean the pots. Never use any cleaning solutions on your pottery as they will be permanently damaged.

Contact

Submitting Form...

The server encountered an error.

Form received.

Captcha Image
Thank you for visiting my website. Please feel free to contact me if you have any questions about my pottery by using the form below.

I am represented by the following galleries:

CasaBella Fine Art, Tucson, Arizona

Gallery at Rabbit Creek, International Market Square, Mpls. MN

Prairie Edge Fine Art Gallery, Rapid City, South Dakota

Seasons on St. Croix, Hudson, Wisconsin

Visit me on Social Media