Forage Modern Workshop

Ben Fiess + Forage Modern Workshop

Josef HarrisComment

Ben Fiess is amazing. And you're starting to see his utilitarian jars everywhere. We were happy to work with him to create a small collection of jars in a Forage-exclusive color combo. They are stunning. We have a small exclusive collection of jars available - each one is a little different. 

How did you get started working with ceramics? 

I first worked with ceramics my third year of college at the University of Wisconsin–Whitewater. I thought I was going to major in graphic design but learned that ceramics was much more interesting to me. It involves 2D and 3D design as well as material exploration. All of the materials are mined from the earth and there are limitless ways to combine them. I became really interested in testing glaze recipes and clay bodies and trying to develop new surfaces as an undergraduate. After college, I attended graduate school at Indiana University to focus in ceramic studio art. I never really explored domestic pottery while in school, save for the annual pottery sales that raised money so we could bring in visiting artists and go on ceramic-related trips. The majority of my studio practice arrives at small-scale compositions, usually involving ceramic materials and whatever else I find complements it. I'm only recently investigating more utilitarian forms and objects.

Tell us a little bit about how you see your Utilitarian Ceramic pot working in today's modern home?

The utilitarian ceramics series of jars started as an investigation of color on form. As such, I never designed them to hold a function other than visual objects. However, they can function well as storage vessels or as flower vases. They are made of vitreous porcelain and glazed on the interior with an easy to clean glossy white glaze.

You're currently living and working on a farm, correct? Tell us one of your favorite farming chores and why?

Currently my ceramic studio is located on my friends' farm just outside the Twin Cities. It is a small farm and the chores are anything but routine. Right now is planting season and that begins with a lot of soil preparation. The biggest task in the past three months was the birth of eight goat kids. The weather was about -10°F and it was a challenge to keep the kids warm and fed. There are also cows and chickens, and turkey poults will arrive this summer too. Aside from that, there is the continual maintenance and repair of farm equipment, engines, buildings, and anything else ends up needing attention. I enjoy fixing things. Two years ago I planted 1000 asparagus crowns and they have been coming up the past two weeks–right now my favorite chore is harvesting the asparagus because it means eating a lot of asparagus.

What is your favorite go-to rainy-day song?

I don't have a rainy-day song but I do find myself listening to albums more depending on the season. My summertime favorites are 'Summerteeth' by Wilco and 'All Your Summer Songs' by Saturday Looks Good to Me. 

What is the best meal you've had in the last year?

That's difficult. Last night I had a dish with morels and asparagus that was really good.