Joanna Gragnani is from Richmond, VA and discovered clay her freshman year of high school and became immediately hooked. Throughout college at the University of Virginia she studied art history, but came back to clay when she moved to Seattle, WA and began taking classes again. After returning to Richmond, Joanna rediscovered the Visual Arts Center and started taking clay classes there, as well as interning in the clay studio. This led to becoming a member of the Old Tavern Kiln Collective and building a wood kiln in New Kent, VA. She loves the community aspect of ceramics and finds inspiration in fellow clay artists and her students. Joanna's latest adventure is 43rd Street Studios, a ceramics studio in Richmond. She works out of her studio there, and she focuses on hand-building and creates organic forms that emphasize the process. She teaches hand-building classes at 43rd Street, and she also leads mobile clay classes around Richmond in customers' homes and businesses.
When I am making pottery, I imagine organic forms, rising up from the earth.
I have been drawn towards organic ceramic forms since I first started pottery in high school. Always wanting to make my pots asymmetrical, I added wavy handles and pieced together unique shapes. I admire perfectly thrown pots on the wheel, but with my work, you will find funky handmade objects that have uneven curves and imperfect lines. I love the way organic shapes form to your hand when holding them.
I am fascinated by flowers and plants and their relationship with ceramic vessels. When creating certain designs, I often imagine how the pots will look with plants in them.