Jessica Kanaley

Jessica Kanaley


My work refers to binding factors of humanity, most commonly language. We assign meaning to shapes and characters that transcend dialect. On a greater level, they represent something larger than themselves and can take on a multitude of meanings. Similarly, my patterning and imagery are representatives, iconography of larger cultural aesthetics. 

I examine the meaning of this iconography through an interdisciplinary approach by combining printmaking and ceramic techniques. Most of my work is done with very soft clay, lending gesture and asymmetry to the forms. After creating stamps I decorate the surfaces of slabs.  I enjoy the physicality and manipulation of clay, the push and pull of stamps on the surface and the way these impressions react to glaze. This process allows me to bring together emotive content with unique and personal techniques of making. With a large repertoire of printmaking methods I find my ceramic work greatly informed.

Print and clay allow me a canvas to create accessible art that finds its way into the home. In the end my goal is to make these objects successful as works of art, but also as deeply personal objects meant to be held and used.



Resolvedly, I made my way into this world a fawn haired and freckled child. I was raised in the East, surrounded by pristine lakes in places with indigenous names. Early on I earned the title of “little mermaid” from my grandmother as every free moment was spent outdoors, swimming, climbing trees, biking and cross country skiing.  Being an imaginative and introspective child I never could, and still cannot, say that I am ever bored.

My real affinity was always artistic creation. I received an art education degree from Nazareth College, worked in art and farming communities and ran a clay program at a day habilitation facility for developmentally disabled adults. In the fall of 2009 I established a business called Old Soul Clay. Under this handle you can find most of my happenings in ceramics and life.

Originally a native of Rochester NY I am now living the nomadic lifestyle of an early career potter, taking on residencies and odd jobs across eastern United States. At this time I am happy to be living in California and working as an artist in residence at the Mendocino Art Center.


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