Stephanie Wilhelm is a ceramic artist from Maryland. She holds a BFA from Elizabethtown College in Pennsylvania and an MFA from the University of Florida. Throughout her career she has been a production potter, spent years in the wood-firing community, and worked at multiple community clay centers and institutions maintaining the studios and assisting visiting artists. She is a dedicated educator with years of teaching experience in outreach and community studios, as well as college level classes.
Comfort and sense of belonging have remained a constant theme in my work through the years. One particular theme in my work uses the narrative of the dog to communicate this through companionship. Aside from what dogs provide us emotionally; within many canonic masterpieces they were essential to the meaning of the piece and depicted to symbolize protection, loyalty, and love.
My latest body of work is an exploration of function with a specific concept that has become near and dear to my heart…plants. Over the years they have become something that I can nurture, watch grow, and learn about. Most importantly, they have become a sort of “love language,” and I enjoy propagating and gifting them to all the people I care about.
Time taken once a week to water, clean, propagate, and admire my plants has become a form of meditation and provides me simple joy. This time invested in each plant reminds me of my studio practice and the precise method in creating the surface decoration. When working on a piece, I am interested in how the layers of pattern and texture can call attention to the form, provide visual direction, and emphasize depth in its ornamentation. I hope that when viewing my work paired with their plant or making them a part of one’s own life, that the sense of the time, attentiveness, and love I have invested into both the ceramic piece and the plant that adorns it are deeply felt.