Forrest Lesch-Middelton Biography
Forrest Lesch-Middelton was raised in both Central Vermont and the Seattle area of Washington state. “Having lived both in the city and in the country, as-well-as the eastern and western United States, I have developed a great appreciation for the social and the solitary influences that have inspired my work .”
At age 14 Forrest began working in clay and immediately found an affinity for the material. Moving back to Vermont at the age of seventeen Forrest spent much of his time traveling New England visiting pottery studios and connecting with the potters he encountered. After graduating high-school he was encouraged by his high school instructor to apply to Alfred University in western New York where he spent the following four years studying clay, glass, and neon.
Following Alfred, Forrest was a resident artist at the Watershed Center for Ceramic Arts followed by a move to Mendocino California where he was a resident artist at The Mendocino Arts Center. During the two years in Mendocino, and in the following year, Forrest spent summers as a guest potter at Orcas Island Pottery a family owned pottery on Orcas Island in Washington State where he honed his skills by making pots daily and re-discovering an appreciation for the solitude and beauty of the Pacific Northwest. Because of the amount of time spent in the studio on Orcas Island, and his connection to the potters lifestyle Forrest often refers to this as the most important period in his career.
Still maintaining strong ties to the community of potters on Orcas Island, Forrest moved back to Northern California and co-founded the Center for Ceramic Arts and Sebastian Ward Gallery in a building which previously housed Trax Gallery and the studios of ceramic artists Sandy Simon, Robert Brady, and Peter Volkous. From 2003 - 2006 Forrest worked toward his Master of Fine Arts degree at Utah State University where he developed his innovative techniques and unique style under the instruction of professors John Neely, and J. Daniel Murphy.
In 2006, Forrest moved back to northern California where he has started an artist-in-residence program at, and was the ceramics program director of, the Sonoma Community Center. Forrest has taught at various Bay Area colleges and has recently lectured and demonstrated extensively throughout the United States, Including workshops at The Arrowmont School of Arts and Crafts, Syracuse University, University of Alaska, Anchorage, Maryland Institute College of Art, Greenwich house Pottery, the California College of the Arts, and The Northern Clay Center.
Forrest’s pots have been featured on the on the cover of Ceramics Monthly magazine, and recently his architectural tile has won great acclaim, having been featured in The New York Times, Architectural Digest and Luxe Magazine. in 2013 Ceramics Monthly Magazine, and Ceramic Arts Daily chose Forrest as “The Ceramic Artist of the year”. Forrest is currently the sitting president of The Association of Clay and Glass Artists, and lives with his two daughters, and runs FLM Ceramics and Origins Tile in Petaluma, California.
Forrest Lesch-Middelton Description
- What cone do you fire to?
Cone 9 Reduction cooling
- What type of clay body do you use?
Iron rich stoneware
- What types of glazes do you use - if any?
Lung Chuan Celadon
- Is your work functional and safe to use with food / dishwasher / microwave...?
- What techniques do you use when constructing your work?
Wheel thrown with Volumetric Image Transfer
Forrest Lesch-Middelton Statement
I make work that explores history through the effects global influences have on the craft traditions of various cultures, and I use this as a way to reflect current global themes. My pots are complex in their creation though they still illustrate the intrinsic beauty found in the everyday ceramic object. I use a variety of complex historic patterns as a common language to take the user beyond the utility and hint at the deeper beauty of unfamiliar places. By blending pattern, surface, and form, my goal is to create work that simultaneously elicits a visceral and intellectual response, followed by a contemplation of the work as a whole. If one holds a piece that I have made, my work is complete; if one’s attention is held by that piece, the work is understood.