Project Description

John Neely

Caine College of Arts

D. Wynne Thorne Career Research Awardee 2013

Throughout his 29-year career at Utah State University, Professor of Art John Neely has contributed a body of physical work and knowledge that has had significant impact on the world of ceramic art, as well as to Utah State University. Neely specializes in tableware, primarily drinking and pouring vessels, which have been described as having a strong, contemporary feel. He is known as a master of atmospheric firing, a category that includes a range of firing techniques. He is especially committed to the technology of ceramics and creating a wealth of technical information, which he has disseminated over the more than thirty years of his mature career as a ceramic artist. His most significant contribution to the field of ceramics is indisputably his development of the “train-kiln” a name that reflects its form, which resembles a traditional steam locomotive. This new wood-fired kiln is a modern design that achieves the aesthetic firing qualities of a traditional Japanese Anagama kiln, but which is easier to build, much easier to fire and much more environmentally friendly. Neely has a sustained record of producing and showing his work in the most important and well-recognized exhibition venues in the world. An active and long-standing member of the international community of ceramic artists, he is well represented in collections around the world, with work in more than 100 important collections. In recent years, he has given workshops and lectures at 30 different worldwide institutions. More than fifty students have worked with Neely at the graduate level and have been inspired by his unique approach to the ceramics process. Because of his reputation in the ceramics community, many more students apply each year to USU’s MFA program than are admitted. Neely has published the results of his creative and scientific research in professional journals and workshops as well as via the traditional venue of the gallery exhibition. His work has appeared in such publications as Ceramics Technical, Ceramics Monthly, NCECA Journal, Purple Sands Magazine, Studio Potters, and Ceramics: Art and Perception. Neely earned his BFA from Alfred University in New York in 1975, followed by an MFA from Ohio University in 1982.