Kirsten Heteji

Kirsten Heteji, Where The Dreams Grow (detail), Porcelain, glass aquarium and seeds, 14″ x 24″ x 14″
Kirsten Heteji, Where The Dreams Grow, Porcelain, glass aquarium and seeds, 14″ x 24″ x 14″
Kirsten Heteji, Where The Dreams Grow (detail), Porcelain, glass aquarium and seeds, 14″ x 24″ x 14″

About the Artist

Kirsten Heteji received her MFA Illinois State University in 2019 and her BFA from Alfred University in 2013. She began her investigation into ceramics at Raritan Valley Community College. She has been a resident artist at Natchez Clay and Watershed Center for the Ceramic Arts. Kirsten has been awarded several scholarships to attend art centers such as Anderson Ranch, Arrowmont and Peter’s Valley as well as a full scholarship to an art tour in Costa Rica. She has also received several awards in various juried shows. Kirsten’s work has been featured in Studio Break podcast and Voyage Chicago. She has taught several ceramics classes at art centers and 3D fundamentals to various age groups throughout her career. Kirsten’s work has been featured in art fairs, juried shows and exhibitions across the US. She currently resides in Normal, IL with her partner.

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Artist Statement

The clay becomes the conduit that connects body to place, drawing comparison between the texture of an object and the lines formed in my hand. They were once held, acting as a memory and traces of spaces or things that once were. Pressing your body into something, touching, feeling, knowing all you can about a thing before it gets lost in time. Obtaining a memory of something by collecting its sensations and recreating a positive from that cognitive distance. The figural nature of the clay, the body that contains remnants of my fingerprints, combines with this object. One cannot be seen without the other.

Body, for me, is the clay and how it holds touch and softness recording the actions of making. Pushing, pulling and pinching clay evokes sensations that connect the maker’s body as well as the observer of the work to participate. I shift expectations by experimenting between the hard and softness of bodily material like clay. It has emotional fragility in how it contrasts the original structure it imitates. I create with both fired an unfired clay to add to the delicacy and impermanence of the objects.

Clay holds dualities of being hard and soft, sturdy and fragile, relating to the emotional sensibilities portrayed when projecting my inner self into the work. They appear to move with independence, secure in their insecurities, reflecting a spectrum of upright confidence or self-inflicted doubt. The sculptures take on this importance as interpreter of these displacements we might feel from our everyday interactions.