Artist Profile: Stephen Fabrico

handmade ceramic bowlArtist Stephen Fabrico creates extraordinary totems and handbuilt ceramic work. Here’s his story.



ABI:  How would you describe your style, and how did you develop it?

SF:  I graduated from college in 1977 with a degree in ceramics. At that point in my life all I wanted to do was make work on the potter’s wheel and sell them at craft shows. It seemed so easy back then, but after a while I felt like it was becoming very limited in what I wanted to do with clay. My line of thrown porcelain was selling well and got me into the best shows in the country but I was bored.



Then I started working with slabs and making plaster molds. This enables me to make anything I wanted to and not use a potter’s wheel as much. This is how I started to realize I could make any thing I wanted to if I found the right thing to make a mold from.


ceramic totem


Lots of my molds are made from found objects. Some examples: Weber grills, bowling balls, plastic ravens, ducks, road cones and other assorted things. I have at least 100 press molds or more. Finding things to make press molds from is something I enjoy.

It is a never-ending hunt for something new. Some days I feel like a kid with a new toy. I like to think that my style is always changing and this is what I enjoy the most.


handmade bird totems


ABI:  Do the totems you create have special meanings?

SF:  I started making totems about 10 years ago.  It started out this way because my wife came home with a wooden totem she purchased at an auction many years ago. I started looking at totems in books and online and thought I should try making one for the property.


bird totem


My favorite totems come from the Pacific Northwest, but you could see variations of totems in other parts of the world. I make my totems because I want my work to be seen by a greater audience.


raven totem handbuilt


ABI: Tell us about some of the special totems you’ve made, and where they are displayed.

SF:  I apply to sculptures shows and have sold many through this type of venue. About five years ago I won a first prize at a show in New Bern, North Carolina and won a $10,000 purchase prize. The piece is now on permanent display in New Bern. Most of the totems are in private collections.


handbuilt ceramic birdhouses


ABI:  What are some concerns that buyers have when purchasing ceramic work? How do you address those concerns? 

SF:  I have noticed that over the past few years shipping charges have gone through the roof. When we pack functional work or garden objects, I tend to use lots of packing. If you do not over pack, it’s a good chance you will have broken pots on arrival. We have very little breakage because we don’t cut corners when it comes to packing.


handthrown ceramic platter


My minimum orders vary. I would rather have a low minimum order than one that is too high because I am always looking for new accounts. A high minimum order is always a problem for small stores.


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