Artist Profile: Keely Perkins

Keely Perkins of Stone’s Throw Pottery has a delightful body of work. ABI caught up with her to find out more about this fascinating artist.


"Gobble Gobble" Plate by Keely Perkins


ABI: What is your background and how did you get started in ceramics?

KP:  I have always been a draftsman and painter. Mark making is my first love. I received a BFA in 2D art and a Master’s in Education from Louisiana Tech University. As part of the Fine Art program I took Pottery 101, and it was the only C I received in college. After I graduated I moved back to Montana where I took pottery night classes at the local art center.


Elephant Plate by Keely Perkins


I loved that I made something I could hold and use, something that needed to be cleaned and taken care of. I discovered Amaco Underglazes and found that I could paint with them on the surface of my pots. I was able to create a functional canvas for my paintings.


Golden Retriever Bowl by Keely Perkins


ABI:  Tell us about your process.

KP:  I throw my pots using a white stoneware from the Archie Bray Foundation in Helena, MT. After they have been fired to a cone 06, I decorate the surfaces using Amaco Underglazes to bring the animal or fish or bird on it to life. I paint them the same way I would a watercolor, light to dark. Then add the line work to the background with a small squeeze bottle originally designed for the application of Henna Tattoos. After the decoration is complete, I dip them in a clear glaze and fire them to cone 6.


French Bulldog Bowl by Keely Perkins


ABI:  How do you sell your artwork?

KP:  I sell my artwork at a few local booth shows in Montana. I also am represented by a handful of regional galleries. I can be contacted on my Facebook page about pieces I have posted or can be messaged for commissioned work. Commissions are where I see the bulk of my business. It seems I have painted almost every kind of critter imaginable on one kind of pot or another.


"Cluck Cluck" by Keely Perkins, 13 in. platter


ABI:  How do you organize your time?

KP:  Right now my life is kind of a juggling act. I am a full time Elementary Art teacher. I teach kindergarten through 6th grade at three different schools. I am wife and Mom to a two and three year old. I have my pottery and painting business, and until this year I have been a high school track coach.  I would not say that I am organized; I think the word is regimented.


Black Lab Pie Plate by Keely Perkins


At work I am a teacher, when I am with my girls and husband I am Mom and Mrs., when I am on the track I am coach.  After I have taken care of all these things, after the school bell rings, after the track shed is locked, after I have spent time with family and my girls are asleep for the night, then I am an artist.


Dove Plate by Keely Perkins


I find inspiration in all the places and things I see and do before I sit down at my wheel or painting table. I am most inspired by children and see the wonder they feel when they see an animal or flower or any new thing we see every day.


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