Stephen Phillips

Influenced by African and Native American pottery, Stephen Phillips of Stephen’s Potter House Productions uses Mayco Raku and Stoneware glazes to create bold and yet eloquent art with contrasts of gloss and matte.

Interview with Stephen Phillips

Mayco: Can you tell us a little bit about yourself?

Hello,My name is Stephen Phillips. I’m from a small town in Mississippi called Crawford. I enjoy singing, cooking, working with clay and so much more.

What drew you towards working with ceramics?

The thing that drew me towards working with ceramics is the fascination as a kid playing in the mud. The idea of being able to create something from the “dust” of the earth is captivating within itself.

How would you define the style of your work? How did it develop and how has it changed over time?

The style of my work is more of a modern contemporary style but influenced by African and Native American pottery. The development of my work started once I graduated from college. My main focus has been how to treat the surface of a pot and having style of my own. I started experimenting with ideas of gloss vs. matte colors, and entertaining ideas to keep the designs simple but eloquent enough to highlight the shape of a piece. Over the course of 5 years my work has changed due to the developing of different techniques in how I apply certain glazes.

How do Mayco glazes and products fit into your work?

Mayco’s glazes fit perfectly into my work because the glazes I use provide the right amount of appeal and attraction to my forms.

Tell us a little about what shape and form mean to you as an artist?

Shapes and forms are important to me because they bring about a certain presence to the space in which they occupy. Shapes and forms also are a testament to the potter’s or artist throwing abilities or even their maturity and familiarity to the material.

Can you tell us a little about your studio space? How important is your environment in the conceptualization of your work?

My studio is a 12 x 32 storage building in which I converted into my studio. It is important to me to have a space to create so that I can conceptually form ideas freely and comfortably.

Can you briefly describe your production process?

My production process is simple. I usually throw forms based on how I feel or by ideas I sketch. I am a slow potter, so I usually produce pieces in small quantities.

What are your “must haves” equipment, materials or products as a ceramic artist?

 The “must haves” for me in my studio space is my wheel, heat gun, kiln, tools, clay, and all my favorites glazes. Pretty much my entire studio is a “must have”.

What have been the most influential and career changing experiences you have had? What about these experiences was so important?

The most influential and career changing experience was when I saw the movies Black Panther for the first time. This movie was full of African culture and depicted in a way to show a different perspective of black people. This was the first time for me seeing someone like me being on a large-scale superhero movie. The richness in the creativity depicted throughout the movie was inspiring and prompt me to start creating work with such a bold and yet eloquent appearance.

What do you enjoy about raku firing?

I honestly enjoy raku firing because of the results and how they vary with uncertainty.

What do you enjoy doing when you’re not working?

When I am not working, I enjoy singing, spending time with my family, and traveling.

What are your top 5 favorite Mayco products?

My top 5 Mayco products would be Mayco’s cobalt wash, copper penny raku glaze, blue surf, sapphire, and copper jade stoneware glazes.