Professor, Visual Arts
All things excellent are as difficult as they are rare.” - Baruch Spinoza
Ceramic artist and educator, Elizabeth F. Keller, is noted for her narrative ceramic sculptures and whimsical teapots. Her work has won awards regionally, nationally, and internationally. It has been featured in solo exhibitions, numerous regional, national and international juried exhibitions, in several Ceramics Monthly publications and three published books. She holds two BA degrees (the University of Massachusetts in anthropology and Furman University in fine art) and received a MFA degree in ceramics from Clemson University in 1992. Additionally, she has also studied Christian theology and Jewish Studies from various institutions including Fuller Theological Seminary and the University of Judaism. Her life interests are in art studio and art education. She taught one year at Furman University and Anderson College (both in South Carolina), before joining the art faculty at Coastal Carolina University in 1994, where she currently holds the position of Professor (Visual Arts/Ceramics).
With a rather eclectic academic background acquired from studying anthropology, history, Jewish and Christian theology, Jewish studies and, of course, visual arts, it is not surprising that the influences of all of these varied interests are often evident in both her sculptural works and teapots. Her sculptural forms exhibit a layering of symbolic imagery addressing spiritual concerns while her teapots reflect a life-long appreciation for whimsy and nature. Two additional key influences on her most recent works derive from a study of Chinese ceramics, particularly Yixing teapots (with small personal-sized and slab-built teapots and cups) and Japanese/Chinese bonsai/penjing (tree in a pot). This fascination with trees has resulted in a personal collection of nearly 100 bonsai/penjing. Tree imagery (and surface texture/wood mimicry), consequently, is very much a central focus and currently serves as her most recent principle inspiration. Even her teapots display a heavy bias for sculpture as well as a keen fascination with spatial manipulation of multiple forms in a composite work. Not surprisingly, these are the same forces that operate in designing a complex penjing landscape (forest scene in a tray). Yet she never leaves behind the craft demand for function: she is as keen to address function with each form as she is to explore ceramic excursions into sculpture.
M.F.A., Ceramics, Clemson University, 1992
B.A., (Art), Furman University, 1989
B.A., (Anthropology), University of Massachusetts, 1973
Ceramics, all levels; 3D Design
Sculptural and functional ceramic forms favoring a trompe l’oeil usage of wood imagery, influenced by bonsai/penjing forms and Chinese-based Yixing teapot traditions.