I am deeply fascinated by the underlying patterns and structures that nature creates. From the formation of minerals deep underground, to the molecular structure of a protein within the human body, structures that may seem random have very distinct and controlled histories. With a background in chemistry and four years of work experience in science labs, I bring an experimental mindset to my artistic process, and I am captivated by the ability to manipulate the unique properties of my materials in ceramics.
I enjoy taking on projects that have uncertain end points that challenge me to create solutions and new strategies in order to create a “final” product. I am often inspired by the elements that I am unable to completely control in my process, leading to unpredicted results. I am engaged by the materials’ ability to teach, a process of learning through experimentation and intuition, explaining the results when the finished product emerges. While I always have a distinct goal within a project, my methods constantly shift as I learn and become familiar with new materials. My experimentation in ceramics is constantly uncovering new questions and ideas for future investigation, and I am thrilled to continue working within this medium.
Sean Forest Roberts was born in Buffalo, New York, and grew up in Madison, WI. He took his first ceramics class as a sophomore at West High School under Phillip Lyons, where he fell in love with wheel throwing and the ability to make functional objects. While academically interested in science, ceramics was his most important hobby for relaxation and fun.
Sean went to Carleton College in Northfield MN, where he worked in the ceramics studio while continuing his academic path in science. He became a chemistry major while continuing to throw pottery and enjoy ceramics on the side. It was not until his senior year of college that he began to research glaze chemistry and formulation. This pursuit opened the possibility of ceramics as an academic pursuit for Sean.
After graduating from college with a chemistry degree, Sean moved back to Madison, WI, looking for opportunities in ceramics. He found out about a post-bacchalaureate program in ceramics at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, where he is finishing his fourth semester this spring. He hopes to attend a residency in ceramics this coming year.