MISSOULA – University of Montana second-year student Steve Page of Boston recently was selected as the inaugural artisan designer for Boston-based retail shop HUDSON.
“My eyes spotted these beautifully shaped pieces and I had to pick one up,” said retail entrepreneur and interior designer Jill Goldberg. “I’ve always loved decorative items made by hand, where you can sense the artist’s passion and intention. Steve’s pottery is so warm and inviting.”
On Tuesday, July 15, Goldberg announced the launch of a new annual program called HUDSON Discovers, which showcases emerging artisan-designers from across the country in the retail shop HUDSON as well as online at http://hudsonboston.com/.
Nineteen-year-old Page will be the first artist to be featured. He studies business at UM and creates his pottery at The Clay Studio of Missoula. He has been making pottery since he was in the sixth grade.
“He is one of our community artists at the studio,” said Shalene Valenzuela, executive director of The Clay Studio of Missoula. “He showed up here last year and was interested in renting a space. He is very skilled and advanced for his age. It’s pretty impressive that he’s taking a full load of business courses [at UM] and able to produce a comprehensive body of work at the same time.”
A reception for the artist will be held at 5 p.m. Wednesday, July 23, at HUDSON in Boston. A selection of his large and medium-sized bowls, pitchers, vases and decorative vessels are on display in-store and online at http://hudsonboston.com/.
“For a young artist, he makes really high-quality, functional pieces,” Valenzuela said.
“The shape and glaze are minimal and noticeable, clean and not fussy,” Goldberg said. “Each piece can stand alone as a beautiful object or become a holding place for cut flowers or small objects.”
Page creates pottery primarily for his enjoyment and to share finished pieces with family and friends. According to HUDSON Marketing and Communications Adviser Saverio Mancina, Page was not actively pursuing public recognition for his pottery but was encouraged to submit images of his work to Goldberg, who was scouting for an undiscovered artist to promote. Being selected in 2014 as the inaugural artisan-designer in the HUDSON Discovers program represents Page’s first public, comprehensive display of his pottery.
“I am very excited to be the inaugural artisan-designer for the HUDSON Discovers program,” Page said. “I love the store and am thrilled they will be carrying my work and in the future giving similar emerging artists the same opportunity.”
Page began to make pottery in 2006. He continued his studies into high school, taking several ceramics courses at Holderness School in Plymouth, New Hampshire, which helped formulate and shape the young artist’s skills and style.
Page works primarily with stoneware clay and recently experimented with a porcelain mix of clay. He works on an electric potter’s wheel and bisque fires the pieces in an electric kiln heated to about 2,200 degrees Fahrenheit. The pieces then are glazed, either by dipping for the smaller pieces or by using spray-layer glaze for the larger pieces. Once the glaze is applied, the pieces are returned to a large gas-powered kiln and heated to about 2,300 degrees Fahrenheit in an oxygen-reduction process. While the kiln is at maximum temperature, all of the entry points are sealed, essentially removing oxygen from interacting with the glaze, which results in more complex colors.
Page’s style has evolved from creating small functional pieces of pottery, such as cups and bowls with very conservative and traditional shapes, to larger functional and decorative pieces, with more attention to detail and shape. Recently he has taken interest in making nonfunctional decorative pieces, focusing specifically on shape and form. He also has decided to work exclusively in high-fire ceramics instead of medium and low-fire.
Page credits his high school ceramics teacher and mentor, Franz Nicolay, for teaching him valuable skills but also giving him leeway to express his design ideas. During high school, Nicolay encouraged Page to enter one of his pieces of pottery to a juried art show in Plymouth. His tea set was selected for the art show, and while there was interest from attendees in purchasing the pieces, Page already had promised the tea set to his mom.
Hudson Interior Designs was founded in 2010, following the successful launch in 2006 of HUDSON, the home furnishings boutique. In 2009, Wallpaper magazine deemed HUDSON one of Boston's must-see shops, as did Elle Décor magazine.
For more information on Page’s selection or to set up an interview with Page, email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Photo 1: Page at the potter’s wheel. Photo credit: Michelle Hofmeister
Photo 2: Page’s pottery that was selected by HUDSON. Photo credit: Michael J. Lee