Eric Stearns was born and raised in North Platte, Nebraska and is currently an art professor at Doane College in Crete, Nebraska.
“Finding harmony and relaxation when throwing on the potter’s wheel, I focus totally on the present and the craft of throwing, knowing that a second’s distraction or inattention could result in the collapse of my extreme forms. Each of my vessels is individually designed and executed to reflect my passion for high craft, married with contemporary expression. The focus of my art is to investigate the interactions of two types of post-firing reduction – clear crackle and smoking the raw clay.”
Stearns’ meticulously pierced patterns, coupled with his thinly thrown forms, are put through a risky raku firing process, known for having a high breaking rate. Each piece is thrown on a potter’s wheel. Once the piece has reached the desire form, Stearns lightly incises between 40-80 horizontal and vertical lines, making a grid to create a pattern of pierced diamonds, triangles, and rectangles. Using an X-acto knife to create his pierced patterns typically takes several hours to complete. After the bisque firing, graphic tape and stickers are used to mask areas of the pot to add an additional design element with slips and glazes. The piece is then raku fired in an electric kiln to just below 1800⁰F. The piece is left sealed in the reduction chamber for approximately 30 minutes to allow the carbon to get trapped in the crackles of the glaze.