Jessica Putnam-Phillips

Bird in the Hand, Porcelain, Glaze, Laser Decal, Vintage Commercial Decals, Gold Luster, 2015
As a reflection of my own experience in the military, I explore the juxtaposition of US service women in combat with the domestic and decorative nature of heirloom tableware. Using the notion of “serving” I create objects associated with serving a meal depicting military women serving their country.  I combine military iconography, such as: weapons, armored vehicles, uniforms and insignias with the traditional elements of classical willow ware patterns. This re-imagining subverts the once benign decoration while creating a narrative that is personal yet makes timely and much needed social commentary. The expectation of duty and service that is thrust upon these women is reflected in the form and surfaces of my work. Through the exploration of ceramic tableware and non-traditional imagery I seek to challenge the entrenched ideas of domesticity and gender roles while exposing the social and cultural issues faced by military women

Bird in the Hand, Porcelain, Glaze, Laser Decal, Vintage Commercial Decals, Gold Luster, 2015

Born in New Hampshire to a military family and raised a “Navy brat”, Jessica Putnam-Phillips has traveled all over the world. As a military intelligence specialist in the US Air Force she deployed to the Middle East. It was during this time she first became fascinated with gender roles, particularly a woman’s place in society. When her commitment to the military ended she changed career paths, earning her Bachelors of Art from the University of North Carolina Wilmington in Studio Art. She then relocated to Vermont and spent the next five years refining her studio practice.

In 2013 she completed her Masters of Fine Art in Visual Arts from Lesley University and exhibited her work as part of the Boston Young Contemporaries Exhibition and the New England Collective at the Galatea Gallery. She spent 2013-14 as an artist-in-residence at the Saratoga Clay Arts Center, where she further explored her “Service Women” series of ceramic platters and plates that depict female service women in combat juxtaposed with traditional tableware motifs and decoration.

In 2014 three of her pieces were selected to be part of Transformation 9, the Raphael Founders Prize at the Society for Contemporary Craft in Pittsburgh, PA.  Jessica’s work was featured in the February 2015 issue of Ceramics Monthly and was part of the two-artist exhibition “Postwar Perspective” at The Clay Studio in Philadelphia, PA and her work was included in the 2015 Potters Council Juried Exhibition at NCECA in Providence, RI.

Her work was featured as part of “Art, and Other Tactics: Contemporary Craft by Artist Veterans” at the Craft and Folk Art Museum in Los Angeles, CA and at the Museum of Craft and Design in San Francisco, CA. In 2015 Jessica attended the renowned artist residency program, A.I.R. Vallauris in the South of France, creating a new series of work which culminated in an international exhibition.

Jessica was named one of the 15 Potters to watch by CFile and was a presenter at the 2016 and 2017 NCECA conference.

In addition to exhibiting her work and maintaining her studio, Jessica is actively involved in the local art community. She is the founder of an online school for ceramic learning and is a board member of the Vermont Crafts Council.

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