Written by Caroline Denton
Photographed by Sarah Grace Kivett
It was the weekend, but Jada Keeran welcomed me into the studio as she began pulling her latest pieces out of hiding and placed them in front of me. I sat down at the canvas-covered table, stained the color of suntanned skin from hours of wedging and rolling clay. She coated her latest creations with a layer of wax as we chatted face-to-face, an intimacy she strives for in her work.
Though a newcomer to ceramics, Jada’s work demonstrates the skills of someone with much more experience. Her commitment to her craft is impressive, and her love for ceramics is evident in all aspects of her work. She pays attention not only to aesthetics, but also to functionality, right down to how her pieces feel in your hand.
When I asked what made her want to be a ceramic artist, she said, “I hated 3D at first. It freaked me out, but…I was in the ceramics class for less than a month and I changed my major. I love painting and drawing and Graphic Design, but I can’t live without ceramics. It’s like breathing for me.”
Diverse, yet recognizable, Jada’s work involves a lot of geometric shapes, which come from kintsugi. She explains, “Kintsugi is the ancient Japanese art of repairing a piece with gold after it has been broken. And because it has been broken, it becomes even more beautiful than it ever was before. I feel like that is a mirror of my life.” The ideals of respect and creating meaningful relationships are at the forefront of her work. “The intimacy people have when they hold a cup,” she says, “is what I want them to have with other people. I’m basically just communicating and conversing with pots and humans.”
Jada is moving to San Diego in June and hopes to become an apprentice to a potter there. I am confident that there will be no pause to her work in the transition. I look at her four sketchbooks laid out in front of me as she asks if she can turn on her “Makers gonna make” playlist. I smile. No matter where she finds herself, I know Jada will continue to convey life and intimacy through her creations.