I am a strong believer in doing all of the things that you love in life and not waiting for the right time or occasion. I have never understood why precious objects were to be kept behind glass in cabinets that were never opened because my family encouraged the use of those objects with the full understanding that sometimes things are broken. It is my hope that while the objects I make appear delicate, that their strength will be realized and they will be genuinely appreciated until the time comes that they do break, instead of left waiting for a special occasion that may never come.
My work begins on the potter’s wheel, after which parts are combined and pierced with an X-acto knife to create striking, patterned objects. I often make double walled vessels by throwing two forms and attaching them to create separate inside and outside walls. This allows me to completely pierce the outside form while the inside provides support and maintains the function of the piece. I gravitate towards an uncomplicated, but colorful, use of glaze that draws colors from nature. The shiny glaze highlights the pierced areas and creates a reflection of the pierced pattern on the inner wall. The process of piercing is very meditative and requires my full attention. It forces me to clear my mind and focus on only what is in front of me so as not to make mistakes. The grace I have learned to give myself from the understanding that sometimes things break, or fail, carries directly into how I move through the making process. I limit my attachment to each piece which allows me to take risks and get the most out of each object that I make. With the understanding that my art is handmade and imperfect, I strive to create pieces that are resolved and highly considered, making them almost mechanical at first. I then find ways to alter and soften the pierced areas to come to a finished piece that is both mechanical and human. I hope that in a small way my work encourages people to make the most of everyday and do the things they love without waiting for the right time.
Allison Achtenhagen will graduate in May of 2023 with a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree with an emphasis in ceramics. While at the University of Nebraska–Lincoln she has taken full advantage of all of the opportunities that surround her, including teaching at the LUX Center for the Arts and being an assistant to Professor Eddie Dominguez on a large public art installation. She was recently awarded the Francis William Vreeland Award in Art and received the Deans Purchase Award at the 36th Annual Undergraduate Juried Exhibition. Allison highly values experiences where she can get hands on and become deeply invested in a project or community. Originally from Boulder, Colorado, Allison enjoys spending time outdoors and going on adventures with those she loves. Although she will always miss the mountains in Colorado and skies in Nebraska, she is excited to explore new places and dive into the opportunities that arise in the next few years.