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27th Annual Contemporary Finnish American Artist Series Exhibition Kristin Pavelka: Kahvipaussi

November 30, 2017

Finlandia University Gallery will present the 27th Annual Contemporary Finnish American Artist Series Exhibition featuring the work of ceramic artist Kristin Pavelka. Her exhibit, titled Kahvipaussi will be on display at the Finlandia University Gallery. An opening reception for the public will take place at the gallery on Thursday, December 7th, from 7:00 to 8:30 p.m. with an artist talk beginning at 7:20 p.m.  The reception is free and open to the public. Refreshments will be served.

Key Dates with Kristin Pavelka

  • Exhibit Period: December 7, 2017 to January 13, 2018
  • Opening Reception: Thursday, December 7, 7:00-8:30 p.m., with artist talk beginning at 7:20 p.m.
Kristin Pavelka - Dessert plates

Kristin Pavelka – Dessert plates

Get to know Kristin Pavelka

Coffee, sweets with butter, visits with relatives, eating fresh fish caught, fried and served by the lake during the midnight sun…these quintessentially Finnish moments are the inspiration for a series of ceramic pieces by Kristin Pavelka. Using multiples of the same form, Pavelka plays with botanical themed surface design to pay homage to her Finnish ancestry. Making utilitarian wares that bring beauty into everyday routines is the stepping off point for Pavelka’s work.

“The making of a pot becomes a celebration of it as an object, as it transcends beyond the everyday kitchen dish and becomes something with more meaning and warmth,” said Pavelka. “A visual balance exists between the rough clay surface and the shiny, colorful glazes, as well as pattern and open space, creating a feeling of fullness both with and without food. Quirky, quiet, sweet and humble are a few words that could describe my work.”

Kristin Pavelka Earthenware Mugs

Kristin Pavelka – Earthenware Mugs

Pavelka gets her ideas from her surroundings, including the natural environment, cultural products and history. “Born a collector, I have various interests in objects from primitive wooden tools of the early 20th century to Scandinavian design and kitsch objects of the mid-20th century,” notes Pavelka.  “I have developed a love for historical ceramics, responding to the fresh handling of the clay in wares from Medieval England, patterning of Iznik and Mimbres pottery, and the depth and richness of the surface of the sgraffito wares of 13th century Iran and Iraq.  Architecture has been a big influence on my work through both form and details, and my color palette borrows from sources including food and the decorative style of Martha Stewart.”

Pavelka’s earthenware pots are decorated utilizing the sgrafitto technique. This technique involves coating the terracotta clay with a white slip (liquid clay). The artist then scratches the design through the slip to reveal the underlying red clay.  Pavelka uses many semitransparent polychrome glazes in candy coating hues to create depth on the surface.

Her porcelain pots display much of the same imagery as her earthenware pots, but the lines are created with the mishima technique where a dark liquid pigment is inlaid in thin carved lines.  Her recent experiments with these pots have included both an oxidation atmosphere in an electric kiln and a reduction atmosphere in a soda kiln.

Pavelka graduated in 2000 from Carleton College with a Bachelor of Art in Studio Art.  She completed a Master of Fine Arts in Ceramics from Pennsylvania State University in 2004.  She also continued her education at the Haystack Mountain School of Crafts in Deer Isle, Maine and the Penland School of Crafts in Penland, North Carolina.  She also served on a panel at FinnFest 2008 on “Finnish American Artists—the Next Generation”. She has held exhibits throughout the United States including New Mexico, Minnesota, Montana, California and Ohio.

Pavelka headed the ceramics department at Hamline University in St. Paul for 5 years and presently teaches ceramics at the Minnetonka Center for the Arts and the Eden Prairie Art Center.  She currently works out of her home studio in Eden Prairie, Minnesota.

About Finlandia University Gallery

The Finlandia University Gallery is in the Finnish American Heritage Center, 435 Quincy Street, Hancock. Gallery hours are Monday to Friday 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. , Thursdays 8 a.m. to 7 p.m., and Saturdays 12 p.m. – 4 p.m. For more information, call 906-487-7500 or visit finlandia.edu/universitygallery.

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