Jennifer Allen works with porcelain and is inspired by forms associated with the holiday table. She spent years as a novice seamstress and avid fabric collector and is continually influenced by various textile textures and prints. Some of the most notable eras that Jennifer draws from are Momoyama Period ceramics, Koryo Dynasty celadons, 14th Century British Medieval pottery, Post-War textiles, Edo period kimono and Arts and Crafts patterns. Although her work is motivated by special occasions, she intends for it to be durable enough to withstand the everyday. Jennifer’s goal is to fill people’s lives with work that engages the home, hand and spirit.
Jennifer was born in 1976 in Silver Springs Maryland. As a child of a wildlife biologist, she lived in several states including Maryland, Massachusetts, Georgia and Alaska. The most impressionable move came in 1991, when her family left Atlanta, Ga for Anchorage, AK.
In 1996, Jennifer discovered clay for the first time and hasn’t looked back. She received her BFA from the University of Alaska, Anchorage (2002) and an MFA from Indiana University, Bloomington (2006). For four years during undergraduate school, Jennifer worked for Bliss Pottery in Anchorage. There, she learned the business side of ceramics while fine-tuning her technical skills. She participated in all aspects of the business, from making/recycling/wedging clay and throwing/trimming piecework to loading/unloading kilns, receiving and filling orders, packing/ shipping and setting up the Bliss Pottery booth at various local craft fairs/markets. The knowledge and experience Jennifer gained as a potter’s assistant for a wholesale production pottery was invaluable.
In the fall of 2002, Jennifer left Alaska to continue to pursue her career in ceramics. The move took her to Rochester, NY where she attended Rochester Institute of Technology’s School for American Crafts as a studio resident (2002-2003). After she finished up in Rochester, Jennifer was awarded a summer residency and Myhre Scholarship to attend the Archie Bray Foundation. Then, in the fall of 2003, she began her graduate studies at Indiana University in Bloomington where she received her MFA in 2006. Following school, Jennifer returned to the Archie Bray Foundation as the 2006-2007 Taunt Fellowship recipient. She was a resident artist at the Bray for two years and then was awarded a Meyer Fellowship to work as a resident artist at West Virginia University. In addition to long-term residencies, Jennifer also was granted a few short-term residencies in Maine and Montana.
Jennifer currently lives in Morgantown, West Virginia with her husband Shoji, their daughter Annelise, son Finn and two dogs, Billie and Ella. She teaches ceramics part time at West Virginia University and maintains a home studio. Jennifer frequently travels the country sharing her passion for clay through demonstrations and lectures. She is an active member of an online clay collective called Objective Clay, whose mission is to share ideas and new work. In addition to her Objective Clay commitments, Jennifer hosts a web series called “Potter of the Month”, where she interviews one potter each month and publishes the dialogue on her blog. Her work can be found in galleries and homes across the globe.
To view more images of Jennifer’s husband, Shoji’s work, please click here.