Zac Spates of Hudson, WI, is a potter/ceramicist. He received his BA in Studio Arts (Summa Cum Laude) from Saint John’s University, Collegeville, MN, in 2003. Spates was an assistant to Richard Bresnahan at Saint John’s Pottery 2000-3, and then was an apprentice at Mark Hewitt Pottery, Pittsboro, NC, 2003-6. Spates also volunteers with the local fire department as a captain firefighter.
Since leaving Hewitt’s, I’ve worked on combining both Bresnahan’s and Hewitt’s influence and developing my own wood fired ceramics aesthetic, while building my pottery studio and wood kiln north of Hudson.
Sustainability was an important concept that I learned from my time at Bresnahan’s. I recycle stoneware/porcelain mix clay that would normally be thrown out from the process of another artist. I also fire my kiln with wood, using both deadfall from the Hudson area and scraps from sawmills.
I lived in Colorado for a brief time after my apprenticeship, and since then I’ve been interested in combining my forms with cut vessels to resemble the rocks of those mountains. I either throw or handbuild the forms and then cut away at the walls to expose the strata of clay beneath.
Spates’ work has been exhibited most recently in NCECA’s 2015 Biennial exhibit (National Juried Exhibition, Providence, RI); Contrasts (Solo Exhibition, Phipps Art Center, Hudson, WI); Strictly Functional Pottery National (National Juried Exhibition, Lancaster, PA, 2013); and Zac Spates: Recent Works (Solo Exhibition, College of St Benedict, St Joseph, MN 2012). He is represented in the following galleries: Schaller Gallery, St Joseph, MI; Lillstreet Art Center, Chicago, IL; Northern Clay Center Gallery, Minneapolis, MN, Grand Hand Gallery, St Paul, MN and Seasons on St Croix, Hudson, WI.