The Queue: Ian Petrie

The Queue: Ian Petrie

Discover what individuals from our craft community are into right now.

Published on Monday, January 25, 2021.
Cover graphic for The Queue featuring Ian Petrie

Introducing the Gift series of The Queue

A biweekly roundup for and by the craft community, the Gift series of The Queue introduces you to the artists featured in the most recent issue of American Craft. We invite these inspiring individuals to share personally about their lives and work as well as the projects, books, podcasts, and more that are inspiring them right now.

Multiple craft forms converge in Ian Petrie's ceramics

Ian Petrie is an illustrator and ceramist based in Philadelphia, and his Maker Spotlight in our Decemeber/January issue explores the way his ceramic work acts as a vessel for his narrative drawings. Ian exhibited in our San Francisco Bay Area Craft Week online marketplace in September as well as in our Baltimore American Craft Show in February last year, where he earned an ACC Award of Excellence@impetrie

Portrait of Ian Petrie

Portrait: Courtesy of the artist

How do you describe your work or practice in 50 words or less?
All images are my own, drawn with traditional nib-and-ink style comic illustration. Using a special-made ceramic ink, these images are screen-printed and transferred onto clay slabs via slip. The pots are constructed entirely with hand-building techniques and are ultimately coated with a clear glaze and fired to 2120°F.

On the theme of our December/January issue, what does giving mean to you and your work, particularly during this challenging year?
Gift-giving to me is all about highlighting what you adore/appreciate about a loved one. The object itself doesn’t have to be expensive or exclusive to be meaningful. One of my favorite things is hearing from customers that they bought one of my pots because “This is exactly my dad, he does this all the time!”

Absolute Trashiest mug by Ian Petrie
Whaddaya Wanna Do Next plate by Ian Petrie

Learn more about Ian's practice in his Maker Spotlight in the December/January issue of American Craft. Photos: Ian Petrie.

During this time of isolation and social unrest, where are you finding beauty and how are you staying grounded?
My partner, Amira Pualwan (@mirkat239) and I recently bought the house we’ve been drooling over since we moved to Philadelphia. When the news seems especially bleak (usually!) or when I’m feeling listless in the studio (frequently!), it’s comforting to have straight-forward projects to knock out and feel a sense of directional accomplishment.

What’s one of your go-to tools in your toolkit that the world should know about?
Tar paper! It's a roofing material, but it works wonders when slab-building pots. I cut out shaped tar paper templates for all my forms and then compress them into my slabs. The tar paper is rigid enough that I can handle my slabs without worrying about them warping, with the added bonus that they keep my cylinders for mugs and cups perfectly straight!

Ian Petrie screen printing experiment

Photo: Amira Pualwan

Ian Petrie screen printing experiment

Recent work by Ian's screenprinting collaborator, Madeleine Conover: Shirt for Two (Sisters), 2020, screenprint on madder-dyed silk. Photo: Courtesy of the artist.

What research or writing are you doing, or seeing others do, that has you inspired?
Madeleine Conover (@madeleineconover) and I will be spending the winter running some screenprint tests for ceramic applications. I come at the screenprinting process very much from a DIY perspective, so it will be great to have a Temple Printmaking grad student to bounce ideas back and forth. Most ceramic artists utilizing the screenprinting process work in simple patterns, but we hope to push some boundaries with greater image detail and multi-layered results.

One of my favorite things is hearing from customers that they bought one of my pots because “This is exactly my dad, he does this all the time!”

What book should we be reading or paying attention to right now?
The other day I picked up a copy of Perramus: The City of Oblivion from this amazing art-comics store in Philly, Partners and Son (@partnersandson). The comic was recently translated into English, but was originally written during Argentina's military dictatorship. The art is gorgeous, the narrative delightfully absurdist, and the theme of political dystopia seems especially relevant.

Perramus The City of Oblivion
Copies of American Craft magazine open at a work station

Photo: Charmaine Vegas

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