Category Archives: ceramics

Sculptural Wheel Thrown Pottery

Early Summer 2017 Sculptural Exploration

Ceramic altered bottle by Luke Metz

The featured image above was thrown as a single piece and then sculptural modifications were added.  It is 16 inches in diameter and glazed with multiple layers of Shino glaze.  It was fired to cone 10 in reduction.

I just completed a summer class at Coconino Community College exploring adding sculptural modifications to wheel-thrown forms.  I have greatly enjoyed working there but I feel that perhaps my projects may be more than is appropriate for a community college.  So, this may be my last semester there – time will tell.Shino high-fire mug by Luke Metz in Sedona, Airzona

I was able to take on an advanced project of using sculptural alterations and marks to create movement and fluidity in my pieces.  I had become bored with traditional shapes.  I used the work of Chris Gustin to provide direction for this endeavor.  This was surprisingly challenging.  I had Sculptural Ceramic Vessel by Luke Metzone large sectional collapse because I was rushing it to be able to complete it within the month of the class.  A number of pieces cracked due to the added stresses of making sculptural alterations to thrown pieces (all of the pieces started on the wheel).  Also, during the learning process of developing this technique, I had a few pieces that were discarded because they were too heavy.  Despite these setbacks, I was able to produce a body of work of which I am proud.

Ginger Jar Urn by Luke Metz in Sedona, AZ

A variety of glazing techniques were employed including dipping, pouring, brushing, splattering and spraying.  The results that most pleased me were achieved with an initial dip into Shino glaze and then selective spraying using three different additional glazes.

Many of the pieces are medium sized and were done with 5 to 6 pounds of clay.  A few larger pieces were done with up to 25 pounds of clay.  The mugs, tall vase, and the flared vase with lugs shown in the gallery at the bottom are not altered.  I did a number of warm-up pieces without alteration and ended of liking some of them.

Small Shino Jar by Luke Metz in Sedona, Arizona

This was a very satisfying project for me and I feel that it has opened an area of exploration that is just beginning for me.  I intend to work on refining this sculptural style and to bring some new elements to it.  I want to use a clay body without grog to emphasize the surface convolutions, and also to explore the use of cone 6 oxidation glazes on these pieces.

I hope to update this at the end of the summer or in early fall.

Here are some additional pieces from the summer semester:

Ceramic High-Fire Pottery

What I Love in Ceramics

Since moving to Sedona, Arizona, my ceramic work is ever evolving.  What I made a year ago is probably substantially different that what I may be making currently.  This variety and growth make it a challenge to present a good representational gallery of my work.  This page addresses both high fire (cone 8-12) and medium fire (cone 5-6) ceramic work.

I love trying new things and combining techniques.  Sometimes I like to be structured and linear in my art whereas sometimes I love to be more fluid and unpredictable.  Whimsy and the unexpected are qualities I enjoy in my work.  Often my palette is as varied as the forms I explore.  

What I Do in Ceramics

Pitcher Imperfect is a high_fire piece by Luke Metz in Sedona, Arizona
Pitcher Imperfect

I produce both decorative and functional high-fire pottery.  Sometimes a piece can be both.  Sometimes an apparent functional piece is more intended for decoration. The hefty 12-inch pitcher, “Pitcher Imperfect”, is a good example of this.

I have made dinnerware sets, but I quickly tire of making the same piece over and over.  I much prefer to make a dozen mugs and make each one distinctly different.   Taking this approach encourages me to reach out of the box – often resulting in exciting discoveries.  I find it interesting the endless possibilities that arise in a simple form such as a mug or tea bowl.  What I learn in these explorations is naturally transferred to other forms that I make.

Shino Dinnerware Set Conical Shino is a high_fire set by Luke Metz in Sedona, Arizona
Shino Dinnerware Set

I enjoy making altered ceramic forms and cutting up forms and joining them in new ways.  Most of my work is done initially on the wheel.   Having done stone sculpture, I enjoy bringing sculptural qualities to wheel-thrown pottery.  Throwing sectional pieces (multiple wheel-thrown pieces are joined and the joined pieces can then be worked on the wheel) is another passion of mine.

I seek to bring a high-level of craftsmanship to my ceramic art.   My continued exploration of simple and altered forms such as mugs results in continuing refinement and craftsmanship of the final product.

Ceramic Glazing

I have not talked much about glazes.   If I have access to cone 10 reduction firing, I am particularly enamored of Shino and Shino combinations.  The transparency of Shino lends itself to slip decorating – this is an area that I am continually seeking improvement.  My explorations with cone 5-6 oxidation firing have mainly been with layering glazes.   I love working with reds and oranges reminiscent of Sedona, Arizona.  With saggar, pit-fire, and raku I use a different palette – please see the related pages on this website.

Raku and Other Pottery Created by Luke Metz

Pottery by Luke Metz

Luke Metz, an award-winning ceramic artist, is passionate about pottery and especially raku.  He grew up and attended college in New York City where he had a fascination with the art scene. While at college Luke learned stone sculpture. He majored in psychology, took numerous art appreciation courses and graduated from Columbia University.

Luke Metz pursued graduate work at the University of Denver in both computer science and education. His business endeavors covered a broad spectrum including electronic repair, computer systems analysis, real estate, and teaching.  In addition to ceramics, his interests also included rock climbing, hiking, camping, cross-country skiing, downhill skiing, motorcycling, scuba diving, and whitewater kayaking.  While living in Denver, Luke spent about 5 years creating pottery as a hobby in the 1970s.

My wife Sue Metz
My wife – Sue Metz

Although Luke Metz always loved ceramic art and dabbled in it, he did not see pottery as a viable career and did not commit to pottery until he “retired”. 

Luke has been living in Sedona, AZ  for 8 years now and has spent 7 of those years fully immersed with ceramics. In that time he has won a number of awards, has been in numerous shows and galleries.  Currently, his pottery is on display at Village Gallery of Local Artists in Village of Oak Creek,  The Sedona Artist Market in Sedona, and The Hart of AZ in old town Cottonwood.

Being a “late bloomer” seems to be in his genes.  Luke’s father retired in his sixties from being a partner in a Wall Street firm and took up sculpture. He put on a one-person show in New York City.

Artistic Vision

Roshi shows off his now defunct teeth
Our ferocious companion

Ceramics/pottery for Luke Metz is a wonderful and exciting medium. The possibilities seem to be endless and he loves exploring new techniques and combining them. The excitement and inspiration of this exploration keep Luke immersed in the medium. The organic and malleable qualities of clay fascinate him, and he often emphasizes this in his ceramic art.   Whimsy and the unexpected are also qualities he strives to bring to his pottery.  Although traditional forms are part of his repertoire, he loves to explore new forms (especially asymmetric) and to combine seemingly disparate elements.  Color and texture is his playground.  The spontaneity and pyrotechnics or raku are particularly enticing for Luke.  

Luke Metz works out his studio, Pots By Luke, in Sedona. AZ.

Luke Metz displays pottery at Three Amigos Ceramic Exhibition
Luke Metz is on the left

Learning is a passion for Luke Metz; the list of potters that he has studied with includes Jim Romberg, Patrick Shia Crabb, Sandra Blain and Wally Asselberghs – they are well known ceramic artists.  He continues his learning experience by studying with Don Fethkenher at Coconino Community College in Flagstaff, Arizona.  Luke is dedicated to continuing to evolve and improve his ceramic art.

Direct and intimate contact with the fire makes raku particularly exciting for Luke.   For this reason, he has dedicated this site to raku and other alternative firing techniques. His passion for exploration results in the non-traditional ceramic art and particularly raku ceramic art.

Luke Metz hopes you enjoy his pottery and would love for you to have it in your home.  Below is a video showing a raku firing.  Your feedback is welcome.