During the three years that I lived in a monastery in Japan, I was struck by the way that ceramic objects enter into almost every sphere of life there, one material elegantly erasing the boundary between sacred and mundane. This began a subtle and ongoing shift in how I understand the relationship between function and form, tradition and innovation, material and experience. Although we operate under a very different cultural context here in the US, I continue to be inspired by my experience overseas, and strive to make work that fits in our lives in this same way.
My work is grounded in historical pots from the American Northeast and South, and strongly influenced by Japanese and Korean firing and making techniques. As I work I do my best to focus equally on the process and my state of mind, aware that each step of the way will be revealed in some way in the final piece. Working primarily with stoneware and making use of a few slips and glazes, my pots are intended for daily use on the table or altar. Deeply grateful for the boundaries that function and tradition place on my work, I aim to make pots that evoke a sense of history yet are born entirely of our present moment.
My current body of work is centered on the production of ceremonial vessels for use in religious ritual and individual spiritual practice. Drawing on my monastic experience and my training as a potter, I produce ritual pieces that have an aesthetically clear and culturally rooted application here in the west - urns for funeral ashes; bowls, cups, and chalices for offerings; jars and boxes to hold incense - forms that are integral to ceremonial, spiritual, and religious practice.
Steve Théberge is a potter from western Massachusetts. He makes wood-fired stoneware intended for daily service on the table, shelf, or altar. In addition to his studio practice he currently co-coordinates the New Apprenticeship Project in Studio Ceramics.
From 1998-2000 he apprenticed to Mark Shapiro at Stonepool Pottery. Following a degree in Anthropology and years as an activist in New York City, he spent 2008-2013 training in Zen Buddhist monasteries in the United States and Japan. He was recently a Short Term Resident at the Red Lodge Clay Center and an Artist in Residence at STARWorks Ceramics in Star, North Carolina. He currently maintains a studio in Northampton, Massachusetts.
Click here for my current resume