Dom Venzant

Dom Venzant

Dom is a biracial potter born in rural Wisconsin and raised in the Twin Cities. Dom earned an M.F.A. in ceramic sculpture from the University of Missouri-Columbia in 2010. He wood fires with Glencoe Ceramics and currently serves as instructor of Fine Arts at Riverland Community College in Austin, MN.

 

My function based clay work is informed not only by a general appreciation of Japanese aesthetics but a direct tie to the Karatsu tradition of the Nakazato family. Some fourteen generations ago a number of villages on the Korean Peninsula were raised to the ground and the villagers rounded up to be resettled on the southernmost islands of Japan with the task, under penalty of death, to make ceramic wares pleasing to the Emperor of Japan (Toyotomi Hideyoshi). This was the origin of the Karatsu potters; and each time I sit down at the potter’s wheel to make a pot I can’t help but think about displacement and struggle but also durability and growth. As a person of African-American descent, I am connected to this history through the transatlantic slave trade. Translocation and its gruesome repercussions also reveal stories of beauty, growth, and development that are transcendent. 

In this way, wood firing has become a transformative means by which I record my contribution to the greater ceramic tradition. My pots serve as a receipt of the mixed and mashed up historical milieu that is part of our modern American landscape. A stack of wood, a pile of clay, a little water and some time are transmuted into pots that tell my story as well as bring joy to people using them. My labor becomes a form of veneration because I believe that a shared meal or a full cup is a form of celebration.

 

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