Arrowmont Craft Conversations: Richard W. James, ceramic artist

“For the first time, I loved everything [about making my work]. I love the sewing… I love the coloring…I love the making. Clay-work is only a third of [the process]. There’s a third of the studio time that’s for coloring it, and there’s a third of the studio time that’s for sewing and doing the armatures and stuff like that. So, by the time I get through all those stages, I’m excited to get back to the clay. And then I’m excited to get back to the sewing. And you keep looping… you can’t wait for Monday morning to come and get back to work. That was the first time it’s ever happened to me… and I thought, ‘That’s it!'” 

Today in Arrowmont Craft Conversations, we feature Richard W. James – ceramic artist, 2016-17 Arrowmont AIR, instructor and friend. Richard describes the impact Arrowmont has had on his work, the direction his art has taken and shares stories from his two-week 2019 figurative ceramic workshop with students.

“Coming to the 2nd Figurative Symposium [at Arrowmont] – that was really the jumping off point for what I consider my mature body of work.”

Richard W. James grew up in rural Tennessee and received his BFA from the University of Tennessee at Martin and his MFA in ceramics from the University of Kansas in 2016, where his thesis work received the 2016 Sculpture Magazine Outstanding Student Achievement in Contemporary Sculpture Award. He has been a summer artist-in-residence at Zhenrutang in Jingdezhen (2015), China, a long-term resident at Arrowmont School of Arts and Crafts in Gatlinburg, Tennessee (2016) and a long-term resident at the Archie Bray Foundation in Helena, Montana (2017-19). He is currently assistant professor of sculpture at Texas A&M Corpus Christi. 

Richard currently has work in the Meet The Artists 2020 auction. Visit for more details.

ITEM 128
Ceramic Jar with Classical Figure
Richard W. James
VALUE: $500
DIMENSIONS: 11″ x 8″ x 4″

ARROWMONT CRAFT CONVERSATIONS is a video series that highlights artists in the Arrowmont community. Our partnership with Arrowmont faculty and community members has contributed to Arrowmont’s longevity, growth as a school of arts and crafts, and our reputation as an institution that welcomes everyone. The artists who appear in this series exemplify the characteristics that represent the School — they span generations and are among the most experienced, capable, and innovative in the arts and crafts world. Each of the artists in this series offers insights into their work and their reflections on being a part of the Arrowmont community.


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