Meet Ben Avey: Local Ulster County Ceramics Artist
Updated: Sep 16, 2022
Ben and I met when I attended a basic ceramics class at the Kingston Ceramics Studio on Cornell Street in Kingston, NY. Ben has a smile that lights up a room and unwavering patience, especially for those of us that aren't natural artists. Ben teaches a variety of classes at the Kingston studio and spends a good portion of his time experimenting with new techniques and honing his ceramics skills.
Ben was born and raised in Town of Ulster, right outside of Kingston, NY. He is a Hudson Valley native who spent a brief time abroad in New Zealand while attending SUNY New Paltz. He moved to Crown Heights in Brooklyn after graduating from SUNY but was quickly called back to the Hudson Valley where he has stayed. After moving back to the area, he came across an Instagram story about Kingston Ceramics Studio and reached out to them about membership options. It didn't take long after speaking with the studio that he began assisting in classes. It's now been six years and Ben continues to teach classes there with the same enthusiasm and excitement. When I asked what he liked most about teaching ceramics, he talked about seeing the growth in students. "When something clicks inside and they know what they want to accomplish, there is this 'Aha' moment that happens." Ben also talked about witnessing people's creativity and how special it is to be able to have it shared across the group. I witnessed it myself; the classes are very much like a community group where people feel safe to share their ideas and create together. Also, I have to say Ben has always chosen really good music to play during class.
"Nothing is ever perfect, nor will it be. Knowing this is not enough but accepting the inevitability of failure allows me to remain in the moment, take chances and push myself."
I asked Ben if he was interested in making ceramic cannabis pipes/bowls for Honey's, and he was all in. He tested out a few different ideas but quickly envisioned the look and feel he wanted his collection to have. I asked him about his technique and how he shaped them so smoothly. He told me "Patience. Throwing is delicate work and I really have to trust in my touch, to not make anything too thin." Ben described the process of making the pipe like throwing a vase with a long neck. He said that the stem would get tricky because his fingers can only get so small, so he ended up using a paintbrush handle to taper the stem. Carving the designs is one of his favorite parts but that he had to keep vigilant in order not to carve too deep and puncture the clay.
Ben's Bowls: From creation to completion
Ben expressed how ceramics and art has greatly impacted his life. "It has centered and grounded me more than anything else could. The studio and my relationship to clay started when I was at a low point in my life. Through creating and failing, I've learned so much about myself. Failure can be an everyday occurrence! Knowing that I can spend15 hours on a carved pot, to then have it crack at the base and become useless is humbling." Regardless, Ben says it does not stop him from continuing to try it again. "Nothing is ever perfect, nor will it be. Knowing this is not enough but accepting the inevitability of failure allows me to remain in the moment, take chances and push myself."
Interested in taking a class with Ben or getting in contact?
To sign up for a class, follow this link to the scheduling Beginner to Advanced Pottery Classes for all at Kingston Ceramics Studio.
To contact Ben directly for any commissioned art pieces or just say Hi, message him through his Instagram account at https://instagram.com/benjaminaveycreative?igshid=YmMTA2M2Y=