Note: Although Art Baird is not a Midwestern artisan, Juniper Art Gallery owner, Jaime Sweany, has sold his ceramic work over the past 25 years, through all three of her retail undertakings, Wild Birds Unlimited, Wandering Turtle Art Gallery, and now Juniper Art Gallery. Art’s bird feeders are of exquisite beauty and functionality (two highly valued traits) and she is happy to share his talents with Juniper’s customers.
Art Baird has been working in stoneware and porcelain for over 30 years, striving to explore the infinite possibilities presented by clay, producing work that ranges from functional ware for daily use to sculptural, nonfunctional pieces.
The sights, textures, and rhythms of the natural world shape the way he thinks about his work, and he finds insight from Japanese folk pottery, and 19th century American salt glazed pottery.
Art believes that mastery of every aspect of ceramics is essential to being a clay artist, so he mixes his own clay and glazes and builds and repairs his kilns. His pots are fired to cone 11 (2300 F) in his 45 cubic foot down draft gas kiln.
He says, “I like high temperature reduction firing because I never have complete control of how the flame affects the pieces. There is always an element of mystery. When I open the kiln, there will be surprising discoveries.”