Born in Missouri and raised with hands in the clay-dirt of the fields near his home, Eric Ordway continues to relate his ceramic work to the environment that surrounds him. While his sculptural vessels relate closely to smaller functional work in his oeuvre, he sees the features of these forms as echoes of the Missouri landscape: soft-formed, curving vessel walls are gentle, rolling hills; carved ridges are plow-scraped rows, evidence of human cultivation and force; openness of form draws the eye up to the horizon line at the organic top-edge of the vessel. Even the colors and surface effects, achieved through Ordway’s mastery of an unpredictable firing and glazing process, remind his viewer of the familiar red clay of the ground and deep-hued, bespeckled or storm-laden sky.
Eric Ordway was raised in central Missouri where he was exposed to pottery at a local community college. Eric graduated with his BFA in 2013 from Colorado State University-Pueblo. He then went on to became a post-baccalaureate student at the University of Missouri (MU) where he honed his throwing skills.
In 2015, Eric was a resident at the Morean Center for Clay. While there Eric taught ceramics at Berkeley Preparatory School where he discovered his passion for teaching. Eric then went on to earn his MFA in 2019 from MU, his research focusing on thrown and altered techniques that he continues to practice today.
From 2019-2022, Eric taught clay at Truman State University. He also worked as the Department Head of Ceramics at Access Arts, a local nonprofit arts organization. Eric currently works at MU’s School of Visual Studies as the fine arts technician. He lives with his wife, Chelsea, and their dog, Lily in Columbia, MO and was recently selected as a 2023 Ceramics Monthly Emerging Artist.