We are excited about the return to Southern Crossings Pottery Festival this year of one of the hottest young potters coming up in the clay community. We welcome back, Didem Mert.
Didem Mert was born and raised in Cincinnati, OH. Her father was a fine woodworker and growing up in a design-rich household continues to influence her to this day. Her love of clay started early in high school and by the time that she went to undergraduate school she had already committed to pursuing a life in clay.
Didem attended Northern Kentucky University where she received her BFA in ceramics and her MFA in ceramics from Edinboro University of Pennsylvania. Her gregarious personality and work ethic brought her to the attention of the larger clay community starting as an undergraduate. She was featured in the undergraduate showcase in Ceramics Monthly in 2014 and was featured in CFile’s list of Potters to Watch For. She has been featured in Architectural Digest, and was selected in 2018 as a Emerging Artist in Ceramics Monthly. After completing her graduate studies, Didem has traveled the United States giving workshops and demonstrations. She was a resident artist at Watershed Center for the Ceramic Arts in Maine and was a summer resident at the Archie Bray Foundation in Montana in 2018.
Didem’s work is made with a combination of pinch and slab constructions. The impressions of her fingers are evident in each and every piece creating a tactile element that draws you into the work and provides a direct line of communication between object and user. Inspired by her father’s cabinetry and the clean drafts of his plans, her work references architectural lines and structures while remaining playful. The juxtaposition of muted earth tones and bright gold bling combined with bold swaths of color and subtle lines and borders reinforce the complexities in what appears to be simple forms. Throughout her work these dualities provides an ongoing conversation about the nature of the work.
These pots reference the post modernist concept of “deskilling” but turn that concept on its’ head by the skill, attention to detail and craftsmanship of the work. Didem’s humor and personal flair is evident throughout the work as she uses elements of bright pink slip pushing out from around a button or foot or the weeble wobble reference of her whiskey sippers. One of the engaging touches of her work, is the way that other craft medium techniques appear, whether it is in her berry bowls referencing traditional basket weaving or some pieces appearing to be fabricated from metal sheets with rivets. This evidence of playfulness is the constant throughout her work, always questioning and pursuing new ideals.
We are excited about her move to the West Coast, having accepted the position of Operations/Resident Director at Barlow Clay in the San Francisco Bay Area and are looking forward to her homecoming in March for the Southern Crossings Pottery Festival!
To see more of Didem’s work, visit www.didemmert.com