Joanna Gragnani is from Richmond, VA and discovered clay her freshman year of high school. 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. 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 asymmetrical forms since I first started ceramics. I love the way organic, textured vessels form to your hand when holding them.
I am fascinated by flowers and plants and their relationship with ceramic vessels. Often I don't see a piece as finished until it has flowers or fruit displayed in it. I look at my work as functional sculpture, that which is to be used and also admired.