Quinn Black: molding creativity through ceramics


Courtesy of Quinn Black

Quinn created this unnamed piece to convey the physical features Quinn most admires in a person. She has always been fond of roman features, especially roman noses, which are noses with a prominen brudge. To deepen the individuality of the piece, Quinn added a real septum to the sculpture.

The creativity and freedom that emanate from clay has always inspired Archie Williams sophomore, Quinn Black. Starting with school projects and family trips to Art Abloom, an art shop in San Anselmo, ceramics have become a way for Quinn to express herself. 

After starting high school at Archie Williams in 2021, Quinn expanded her knowledge and grew as an artist with the materials provided at school. With access to resources like clay, glaze and a Hot Box, Quinn was able to learn how to make new creations.

Quinn created this pitcher as a way to launch herself into a phase where she makes functional pieces. She now uses this as a piece that documents her growth in the ceramic field. This piece was Quinn’s first attempt to put handles on one of her creations. The piece was the first handle that she was ever confident in after a long time learning. The pitcher was then finished with fun glazes and its unique shape. (Courtesy of Quinn Black)

“[My favorite thing to make] used to be planters because they are so fun and they can always be different shapes and stuff, but then I learned how to make handles. I really like mugs now, and they are so fun to make,” Quinn said. “They are pretty simple, but if you add fun glazes they just look so cool.”

Quinn strives to create functional pottery and even dabbles in sculpturing. In order to individualize each piece, Quinn changes certain aspects of her pottery, usually targeting handles or glazes. She randomizes the glazes she uses, and doesn’t plan out her pieces ahead of time.  

“I just dip [the pottery] in a bunch of glazes, and I don’t really look at the colors that they turn out to be, so it always ends up a surprise. Or I will end up forgetting what glazes I use so I can’t really repeat it again,” Quinn said. “I sometimes put a little stamp at the bottom of [the handle], where it connects back to the actual cup but that usually gets covered up by the glaze.”

Quinn rarely remakes her pottery in order to avoid repetitiveness. With the constant creation of these unique pieces, Quinn has begun selling her pottery locally. In the past she has sold her pieces at flea markets hosted by Beach House Style, a furniture store located in Fairfax.

“I kinda started [selling pottery] because [clay] was taking up so much space in my house. I’m not really in it for the money at all, and I would give [the pieces] to anyone for free if they asked,” Quinn said.

Quinn takes great pride in her pieces and enjoys seeing others appreciate her work. Although Quinn plans to continue making ceramics, she doesn’t aim for it to become her career.

Quinn made this piece while experimenting with different sculpting techniques. After completing this piece, Quinn noticed it resembled statues on Easter Island, a Chilean territory in the South Pacific. (Courtesy of Quinn Black)

“I definitely will keep this going throughout my whole life, I think, if everything goes according to plan, but I don’t think I would ever want to rely on it for a living,” Quinn said. “I think [relying on pottery making for a living] would put pressure on me to keep it going, and if there is ever a point where I don’t like [ceramics] as much I would still have to keep it up. I don’t want it to become a burden.”

Quinn continues to use the freedom that comes with clay, and strives to build her knowledge and creativity.