Stephen Phillips was born August 2, 1988 and raised in the small town of Crawford, MS. He attended and completed grade school at East Oktibbeha County High School, formerly known as B.L. Moor Attendance Center in 2006. Stephen Phillips has always been intrigued by the arts whether music, dance, or visual arts. His start in ceramics can be linked back to his childhood as a kid who found enjoyment in the mixing of earth with water.
His pursuit for the medium began in his attendance at East Mississippi Community College. Stephen learned the basic fundamental skills of hand building and throwing at EMCC, receiving an Associate of Arts degree in 2008. He later attended Mississippi University for Women where he began to advance his throwing skills. He has trained under a national and international ceramics artist during his enrollment. While attending MUW, Stephen became the 1st place winner in the 2011 Mississippi Collegiate Show for the category of ceramics. He has received other awards while in his pursuit as a ceramic’s artist. He received his B.F.A. from MUW in 2013. Since then, he has taught classes, given demonstrations, and artist’s talks in various places.
Stephen seeks to produce vessels that are functional, decorative, and well- crafted. He has explored with altering the vessels’ shapes and forms. He has subsequently come to the place of minimizing his alterations. Stephen states, “I enjoy the idea of being able to alter a form just slightly in the middle to leave an impression and thought that the vessels are handmade.” When creating, Stephen often reflects on his spirituality and faith, finding himself in the mindset as God created man. In 2014, Stephen started really focusing on his style and the finishing of his pieces. He has been exploring with underglazes and a few Raku techniques. In the finishing process of glazing his work, Stephen uses a combination of glazes that works well with the form of the vessel. In 2015, Stephen established Stephen’s Potter House Productions, a small studio space which can be seen in the countryside of his hometown in Crawford, Mississippi. His work has been displayed and sold in the MUW Eugenia Summer Gallery, the Rosenweig Arts Center, the R.E. Hunt’s Museum, and the Ohr-O'Keefe Museum of Art. He currently has work displayed at EMCC in their permanent collection located in Scooba, MS. Stephen Phillips currently lives in Crawford, MS and continues in his progress as a ceramic’s artist.
In my recent work, I have been exploring the juxtaposition of textures and colors. I use underglazes as the base color and gloss glazes to give a differentiation between the textures and appearances provided by both glazes. I use electrical tape to create patterns and geometrical shapes. When the tape is removed revealing the underglaze surface, these pieces are fired at cone 6 (around 2232 degrees F). Other pieces I create are raku fired for completion. The unglazed surface of the bisque pot will turn a matte black during the raku firing process allowing the differentiation between the unglazed surface and the glazed area. These pieces are finished using a gold wax as an accent and cold sealed with a clear acrylic spray paint. Every piece created is considered as an individual that belongs to a large family or collection.
Jeremiah 18:2-6 NIV
At the Potter’s House
18 This is the word that came to Jeremiah from the Lord: 2 “Go down to the potter’s house, and there I will give you my message.” 3 So I went down to the potter’s house, and I saw him working at the wheel. 4 But the pot he was shaping from the clay was marred in his hands; so the potter formed it into another pot, shaping it as seemed best to him.
5 Then the word of the Lord came to me. 6 He said, “Can I not do with you, Israel, as this potter does?” declares the Lord. “Like clay in the hand of the potter, so are you in my hand, Israel.