Current Artists-In-Residence

Miles Lawton Gracey

Wood

Miles Gracey uses the vocabulary of furniture to translate sculptural forms by activating a once-passive relationship with the participant. Functionally, his furniture attempts to refocus attention on craftsmanship within sculpture, while conceptually undermining the art form’s functional and practical concerns. Gracey describes his work as playful and curious, prompting a participant to suspend their beliefs as it reveals or obfuscates their perspective or relationship with it. One of the artist’s driving forces is his weariness of standing behind ribbons to view art, not being able to touch or taste what he is looking at. Informed by this feeling, his work is concerned with all the senses:  touch, smell, sound, and even taste are at the forefront of his practice. 

Gracey grew up in California, where he received an MFA in “Sculpture New Genre” from Otis College of Art and Design. He fell into the cabinet-making trade and eventually attended The Krenov School of Fine Woodworking. He has attended residencies at Haystack Mountain School of Crafts and was recently a fellow at The Center for Furniture Craftsmanship in Maine. His work has been exhibited in Los Angeles and San Francisco.

To learn more about Miles Gracey’s work, visit his Instagram account: https://www.instagram.com/plays.on.woods/

Photo by Becca Levi

Yeonsoo Kim

CLAY

In order to understand the art, history, and culture of ceramics in Korea, Yeonsoo Kim worked with Korean masters at various onggi factories and ceramic studios as a way to secure a strong foothold in the field of Korean traditional pottery. Kim’s artistic identity began developing as his life experiences and values were shared with other artists and workers. He began tasking himself with creating a new hand-built vessel each day. These works, when amassed, act as a type of diary or a visual record of listening to his inner voice. His works explore identity and psychological conditions through the processes of making and daily life.

Kim was born in Haenam, South Korea. He earned his MFA in ceramics at Lamar Dodd School of Art, University of Georgia, Athens, GA, and his BFA in ceramics and glass from the Hongik University, located in Seoul, Korea. He has held apprenticeships with Onggi masters in Jeolla-do (Hayngjong-Oh) and Gyeongsang-do (Jinkyu Huh) in Korea.=

Kim has won multiple awards and exhibited nationally and internationally. Most recently, he was named one of the top six Emerging Artists of 2020 from the National Council on Education the Ceramic Arts (NCECA) and had a solo exhibition at the Radius Gallery in Missoula, MT. He has participated in several artist residency programs, including the Korea Ceramic Foundation, Montana State University, Morean Center for Clay, and the Archie Bray Foundation.

To learn more about Yeonsoo Kim’s work, visit www.yeonsooceramics.com/.

Photograph by Yeonsoo Kim.

Lakea Shepard

FIBER

Based in her hometown of Winston-Salem, NC, Lakea Shepard is a mixed-media designer, sculptor, and milliner. Being raised by a mechanic and a textile worker birthed the artist’s passion for designing “head-sculptures,” using traditional, African textile techniques, including beading, weaving, and basketry. Her work is submerged in symbolic universal objects speaking to obstacles within Black America. The ideas for her work are developed through dreams, historical traumas, and personal life events. Each sculpture Shepard creates incorporates her visual signature, red thread, symbolizing vitality and womanhood. The red thread is also metaphorical for veins, which is her effort to bring her ideas “alive.”

Shepard studied visual arts at UNC School of the Arts and received her BFA in crafts with a focus in fibers at the College for Creative Studies in 2013. She also attended the New York Studio Residency in Dumbo, in New York City. Her work has been shown in many galleries, including the Contemporary Art Museum of Raleigh, NC.

To learn more about Lakea Shepard’s work, visit http://www.lakeashepard.com/.

Photograph by Brandon Edwards.

Rebekah Sweda

Clay

Rebekah Sweda focuses on interventions to the traditional, wheel-thrown ceramic vessel. She works in various clay bodies, using cuts and slices to activate empty space as material itself. She sees these cuts, slices, and chops as a way to open up new possibilities surrounding abstraction, interior, exterior, and empty space. About her work, she comments, “How much of a thing can be removed before it is no longer itself? How many of these altered individuals form a collective, or community? Grouping forms together into communities or isolating individuals stirs an emotional reaction. Repetition of shape or empty space reinforces ideas of shared space and connectivity. Creating more empty space can focus the form on absence or loss.”

Sweda received a dual degree in chemistry and studio art from Calvin University in 2018 and an MFA from Cranbrook Academy of Art in 2020. Later that year, she exhibited the solo show, Amphora, featuring works exploring the sense of loss she felt from the pandemic, and, in 2021, she exhibited The Derived Vessel, a solo show that finalized the ideas around her graduate work. Prior to joining HCCC as a resident artist, she completed a residency in Rome. She is the creator and founder of Sweda Studio, a ceramic school and studio in Grand Rapids, Michigan, which will open in March of 2023.

Learn more about Rebekah Sweda’s work at rebekahsweda.com and swedastudio.com.

Photo by Matt Sweda.