Chastan Swain spent his childhood exploring rural farmland in the Piedmont of North Carolina. These explorations culminated in a thru hike of the Appalachian Trail in 2013. Swain received a Bachelor in Fine Arts at Appalachian State University concentrating in ceramics with a joint emphasis in photography and is currently a Post Bacc at Penn State Univeristy. Process inspires Swain in his work and daily life. The enigmatic nature of relationships in the natural world and society serve as the basis of his current work and he often draws on past outdoor experiences to formulate his imagery. He works primarily with high fire clays and a series of surface treatments including under glaze. These materials allow him to draw tactile connections to the rural farmland that he has lived on his entire life.

Practice & Purpose

I grew up in the South. Raised in a farmhouse, where distant cousinsfloated in with the afternoon light, I was accustomed to long dinners servedfamily style, and always with iced tea. I strive to create relics of thesememories, realizing that the places were safe even when the people were not. Eachobject emphasizes the preciousness of community, outlined by comfortable placesand hospitable acts. A gift lies in the agrarian history and the open home inwhich I was born in to, one that is being lost to time. Farmlands, wild if leftalone, require tending and attention by hand and hard labor. In working withceramics I discovered a second intersection of these two items - terra andtool. The parallel of material is heightened by the historical multiplicity ofthe ceramic object; pots accompanied by saucer and cup. The strength of thesefamilies of objects relies on the same specific collectiveness indicative ofthe rural south.

            As I grow older and move further fromthis place I recognize the power of my mother’s voice and the actions of myfather, and the paramount importance of the places we’ve called home. Eachobject is a component of retelling, and of remembering. The process oftranscribing memory on clay is an act that is both somber and jubilant,resulting in a deeper understanding of how collective influence created anindividual.



2016-17             Pennsylvania State University - Post Bachelors Program - Ceramics 

2013-16             Appalachian State University – Bachelors of Fine Arts, Studio Art - Ceramics & Photography 

2012-13             Clemson University 


2016                   Research Assistant for Amanda Baker in Ceramic Engineering at Pennsylvania State University, State College PA 

                            Research Assistant for Lisa Stinson in Ceramic Decals at Appalachian State, Boone NC

                            Instructional Assistant for Melisa Cadell in Casting I at Appalachian State, Boone NC

2015                    Founder and President of the Appalachian Ceramics Association, Boone NC

                            Ceramics Studio Supervisor, Appalachian State, Boone NC

                             Sam Chung Workshop, Arrowmont School of Craft, Gatlinburg TN

                             Studio Assistant at Arrowmont School of Craft, Gatlinburg TN

                             Instructional Assistant for Lisa Stinson in Casting I at Appalachian State, Boone NC

                             Ceramics Department Kiln Room Manager, Appalachian State, Boone NC

2014                     Instructional Assistant for Lisa Stinson in Throwing I at Appalachian State, Boone NC

Exhibitions & Publications

2016                  Patterson Gallery, Hand Candy: A Ceramic Lending Library, State College PA 

                           Palmer Museum of Art, Expanded Practice, State College PA 

                           Looking Glass Gallery, Roots, Boone NC*

                           Catherine Smith Gallery, 13, Boone NC                           

                           The Peel Literature and Arts Review, Print Edition, Boone NC

                           Companion Gallery, Last Call, Humboldt TN 

2015-2016          Blowing Rock Art & History Museum, Origins, Blowing Rock NC*

2015                   The Peel Literature and Arts Review, Fall Edition, Boone NC 

                            Looking Glass Gallery, Contact,Boone NC*

                            Nth Degree Gallery, Multiplicity, Boone NC

2014                    Rochester Museum of Contemporary Art, 6x6, Rochester NY

                             Nth Degree Gallery, 6x6, Boone NC

2013                    The Peel Literature andArts Review, Fall Edition, Boone NC

2012                    Milton Rhodes Center For Visual Arts, First Citizens, Winston-Salem NC

*Denotes a solo or split show

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