Jennifer Halli


New Wave emerging Woodfirer USA

Jennifer Halli CV

Born: Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania

Having spent many years as a self-taught metalsmith, Jennifer started working in clay during a decade long spell of living in New Zealand. Looking to hone her wheel and woodfiring skills, she moved to Australia and apprenticed to Robert Barron, in Kardella, VIC.

Following on from chasing wombats, travels took Jennifer back to the USA where she was introduced to the American craft scene by way of The Center for Craft, Creativity & Design; here she was able to mentor the next generation of makers. When spreadsheets became too much, Peter Callas was in need of an assistant. Taking finely tuned skills from Rob and throwing them out the window at Peter’s, it was time for graduate school. Today, when not travelling whenever and wherever possible, Jennifer spends her time at UMass|Dartmouth as a Distinguished Art Fellow.

Artist statement

There is something significant about a move to a foreign country, especially when you are old enough to adopt it as home yet naïve enough for it to shape your character.

As a young adult, I moved to New Zealand; a land of contrasts that offered me a pluralistic view of the world and continues to fascinate me.

Lost in time and forward thinking
At the edge of the world and the beginning of the day
Created by a fault and populated with egalitarian residents
Evolved in isolation for millions of years and boasting flightless birds

These phrases, evoking the character of New Zealand, connect to an array of indigenous plant life that grows in a forest dense with familiarity to anyone who grew up in the southeast USA. However, this forest boasts individual specimens foreign and filled with curiosity to a newcomer. The names are as wondrous to the ear as the flora is to the eye: kahikatea, nikau, pohutukawa, kowhai, mataī, tōtara, manuka, kauri.

Imprints of New Zealand’s ecosystem grew in my mind and I gathered the knowledge I now use to create analogous, biologically resonant structures in clay. I strive to capture a moment in the transition of life, of travel, through the exploration of abstraction. The objects that represent seeds, plants, and fossils are drawn from an antipodean natural world and presented with a touch of ambiguity.

The physical surface of my chosen material, clay, is where the mechanics of the human mind confronts the viewer. The surface of the work represents the experience of my imagination as it recalls New Zealand; this site is where knowledge is imparted and the viewer is challenged in the distinction between nature and art.

One work informs another in my process, causing a sequence to occur. A piece grows out of the previous while laying groundwork for the next. A sense of wholeness develops and informs the preoccupations in my work: cycles, generations, replication, homology and patterns. The work evolves naturally, organically, a genesis of form. Art allows us to create our own laws.

Artifacts are made
Organisms grow.

In essence, I am creating various versions of the same thing.
Not to compete with, but to seek the beauty found in the engineering of nature.

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