Handmade in Kennett Square, PA
From the tiniest barnacle sipper to sculptures that barely fit in my kiln, I am proud of every handmade treasure that has made its way into the homes of art collectors near and far from my studio in Kennett Square, PA.
Meghan Bergman (she/her) is a Ceramic Artist and Art Teacher from Kennett Square, PA. Her handcrafted pottery and ceramic sculptures are inspired by organic objects and underwater life, and each piece is a study of the texture and movement found in nature. Meghan has been creating ceramics for over 15 years, and has participated in firings and workshops around the country and internationally.
Meghan’s ceramic artwork has appeared in Juried Fine Art Exhibitions featuring artists from around the world, including: Small Favors, Material Mugs, Cup: The Intimate Object, Sip: A Ceramic Cup Show, and her barnacle cups were the 2020 "Best in Show" winners for the Bottoms Up exhibition.
Meghan holds a Masters Degree in Education from Gratz College in Philadelphia, PA, and a Bachelor’s degree in Art Education and Ceramics from Carlow University in Pittsburgh, PA.
Q&A with Meghan
What are your favorite pieces to make in the studio?
My favorite thing to make in my studio are my Barnacle Cups. I enjoy the process to create each one and how each piece comes out with such personality every time. I make them to be both sculptural and functional. It’s art that’s meant to be picked up and bring happiness.
These pieces feature layers of glaze and melted sea glass, and the piece is stilted on its side in the kiln. During the firing process the sea glass melts and drips down the piece to transform into a final work of art. Once cooled, a light tap separates the piece from the stilt.
What methods do you use to make pottery?
I use several different methods to create ceramics: forming by hand, throwing on the wheel, or using a slab roller. (Check out The Process page to see a demonstration on how my mugs & barnacle cups are made)
After drying, each piece is carefully loaded into the kiln and is bisque fired, then layered with a combination of glazes or oxides for the final glaze firing 🔥
Where did your idea for barnacle pottery come from?
My idea for my barnacle cups originated in Denmark while traveling abroad for a ceramics workshop. Quite by accident I was making spikey work, which bumped into clay and made a hole, and I started exploring what barnacles would look like.
I started with a small idea - creating a barnacle and attaching it to a cup, and fast forward 15+ years later these barnacles have truly grown on me. I've explored a range of vessels and attached barnacles to hand-built pieces, like my barnacle cups, bowls and sculptures, as well as wheel thrown pieces, like my vases and jars; a range of firing methods🔥 from electric, gas, and even wood fired; and a range of sizes from the tiniest barnacle sipper to sculptures that barely fit in my kiln.
What are you most proud of?
I am most proud of my ability to embrace "kaizen" the philosophy of continuous improvement. I'm on a lifelong journey for knowledge and pursuing new ideas through experimentation.
Expanding upon my early work which featured wood firing, now in my studio I mostly fire in an electric kiln and use techniques that mimic the results of a wood firing. I use shells and other natural materials to create a strong texture on my work and then stilt the vessel on its side with sea glass and a combination of glazes and allow gravity the chance to work its magic, resulting in a waterfall of colored glass.
How would you describe your style?
Each work of art I make is a study of texture. I draw inspiration for my barnacle cups, sculptures, and all of my work from objects in nature, and Japanese culture, especially the idea that things should be 'wabi-sabi', roughly translated 'perfectly imperfect'.
I don't try to simply copy what I see. I study the texture, the shadows, and create a one-of-a-kind treasure that looks like it was pulled from the sea, but was made in my imagination.
What does the spiral symbolize in your logo?
I love it when you look down into hand thrown pottery, the spiral draws the mind in and lets you know that it’s a one of a kind handmade object you're holding.
I find the art of making pottery to be a very meditative process. My logo itself is a sort of labyrinth, with one path that leads to the center. Similar to a labyrinth, this spiral symbolizes a journey to our 'center' as a mindfulness exercise to find peace, clarity, tranquility.