Originally from Fargo, ND, Zak Helenske received a BFA (2004-2009) in Ceramics at North Dakota State University where he focused on functional ceramics. He received his MFA (2010-2012) in Ceramics and Ceramic Sculpture at Rochester Institute of Technology’s School for American Crafts. Helenske has lived in Seattle, WA for 5 years maintaining a full-time studio practice with his partner, artist Mya Kerner. Zak is represented by Vetri Gallery in Seattle, WA, and Eutectic Gallery in Portland, Or, Chin Chin Pottery in Tainan City, Taiwan, Clay AKAR in Iowa City, IA, and Signature Gallery in Atlanta, GA. In 2017 he was named an Emerging Artist by Ceramics Monthly.
“I am a studio potter who is interested in the development of form and the exploration of pattern. I look to industrial and architectural situations for formal references and use geometry as a language to communicate my observations. My work is wheel-thrown and hand-built with an aggregated earthenware clay. It is decorated with cut patterns under bright white slip and underglaze. I find satisfaction in the illusionary nature of pattern, how wrapping the surface of a pot with a repeated line can visually altar or reshape the form. My approach to functional terra cotta slipware is both a response to its ancient history as well as a construction of my own sensibility in aesthetics and material.”