Sunday, February 7, 2010

An Interview with Arthur Halvorsen

by Arthur of Arthur Halvorsen Ceramics

Tell us a bit about yourself (name, location, affiliations, personal stuff).
My name is Arthur Halvorsen, I live in South Boston with my partner Cary and our two crazy cats Sprocket and Cogswell. I make my work at Mudflat Studios in Somerville. I’m a reality TV addict especially Survivor, Project Runway, The Amazing Race, and Ace of Cakes.

What is your background? (family background, education, former/current day jobs)
I’m originally from Braintree where my Dad and sister still live, I received my BFA from Maine College of Art in Portland Maine in 2007. I currently teach clay at Mudflat to Adults, elementary and High School aged kids. At Mudflat I’m also at tech assistant meaning I’m loading and unloading kilns, mixing glazes and slips, recycling clay, and general studio upkeep. When I’m not at Mudflat I’m working 8 months out of the year at Boston Duck Tours where I am a ticket booth supervisor. In between both jobs I find the time to do my own studio practice.

What first made you want to become an artist?
I was raised in a very creative household. My dad ties his own flies for fly-fishing, makes his own bullets for target practice, and draws well. When my mom was alive she crocheted a lot of the blankets we had. In high school I knew I wanted to go to art school and was drawn to 3D art but didn’t really have the means to do so. I would paint and my paintings would be very sculptural and textured so moving into a medium in 3D came naturally to me. When I got to college I knew I wanted to either major in ceramics or photography, and chose ceramics because of all the layers I can make with the clay. I also like the unpredictability of what can happen in the kiln with clay. If I didn’t like to gamble and I didn’t want to become a pyromaniac then I wouldn’t of chosen clay. I love that clay comes out consistent, but never the same.

Describe your work.
My work is made from earthenware (terra cotta) clay I use bisque molds as a primary means of making. Bisque meaning I make a mold out of clay from an existing piece I find at a second hand shop, yard sale and even the grocery store. A slab (sheet) of clay is put over the piece and put in the kiln for on firing, making it as hard as stone. I then use another sheet of clay and make my pieces. All my pieces start upside down, so I have to think if then in reverse before going forward. I decorate with white slip, which gives the piece a nice texture like cake frosting, the thicker, the better in my opinion. I then decorate the piece further with colorful runny glazes. The last step for some of the pieces is to get decorated with vintage decals. I love watching the composition with the decals develop organically. I don’t like to plan the arrangement of decals out beforehand.

What inspires you?
Victorian silver, cakes, candy, birds, pop culture, drag queens, old glass Christmas ornaments, big bright beautiful flowers like gerber daisies, antiques, history and my collection of ceramic pieces all have a profound impact on me and my work.

What do you love most about what you make?
What I love most about what I make is that someone will actually use it. I make utilitarian objects and I don’t think that a piece is fully complete until the owner uses it for what it was intended for.

Where do you see yourself in 5 years with your art?
I see myself graduated from graduate school with a MFA degree in ceramics, living somewhere where I can make a full time living off my art. I see myself in a community studio, I like having the social contact with peers, and be able to ask for feed back without a big to-do.

Name your top five web sites.


  1. Welcome to the group Arthur! And thanks for this interview - great reading!

  2. Loved reading your interview. Welcome and can't wait to meet you.

  3. welcome arthur - cant wait to pick your brain!


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