Artist Spotlight: Robin Roi

How long have you worked in the Gowanus neighborhood?

I have lived in the Park Slope area for over 25 years. When my youngest son was 8, I heard about a wonderful ceramic teacher, Adrienne Yurick, who had clay classes for children at a studio called “3rd Avenue Clay”. I sent my son, Soren, there for a couple of years. He loved it and made some wonderful clay sculptures which I have kept to this day. At the time, I was working at Evergreene Architectural Arts where I was employed as Director of Decorative Painting for many years. Some years later, in a desire to revive my personal career as an artist, I decided to take a ceramic class at this same studio in the heart of Gowanus. That was probably about 15 years ago and I have never stopped working in ceramics as well as attending the 3rd Avenue Clay studio.

What motivated you to establish your studio here?

For part of the year, I also work in the ceramic studio at the Greenwich House Pottery in Manhattan. However, as I live now in Windsor Terrace, 3rd Avenue clay has always felt like my home studio. Now that I have become involved as a volunteer with the GOS, I am more excited than ever to have this great community of artists as a support and a resource. Being part of a more intimate community is especially important living in New York where it can be a daunting task to find one’s place.

Why should people visit your studio during Gowanus Open Studios 2016?

Although I have been working at the 3rdAvenue pottery for over 15 years, I have never participated in the GOS as I did not have my own private studio and logistics were not convenient to open the studio up to the public. Finally, this year I decided to find a space in the Gowanus area where I could exhibit my pottery as well as offer the opportunity to other ceramic artists in the area to show their work. I have located a wonderful space called the “Shapeshifter Lab” on Whitwell Place. We will have over 15 ceramic artists as well as a few painters and photographers. I am calling it “Ceramic Central”. If anyone is interested in ceramics….this is the place to come!!

About my own work

My ceramic work is mostly functional but with a highly decorative flair, sometimes verging on sculpture or at least the “not so utilitarian”. Although the pieces I make can function as every day vessels, I believe their decorative surfaces and inventive forms give them a unique quality much like a piece of art. Pitchers are a favorite form of mine as they can be very playful and the slightest shift in the slant of a handle or spout can drastically change its personality. I love in equal parts the forming of the vessel and the decorative painting and glazing of surfaces. Sometimes I am amazed at how the simplest form can become an object of such beauty with the right glaze or surface design and likewise, a fabulous form without a wonderful surface is left wanting. Pattern and design have always been my passion and my gift. My ceramics show off the best of this talent.

Check out more of Robin’s work at her website: