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12 Questions: Jill Birschbach

#contemporaryceramics #ceramicsculpture #ceramics #sculpture #creativewisdom #artistlife #gallerylife #contemporarygallery #milwaukeegallery #chicagoartist


Jill has a BFA from University of Wisconsin-Oshkosh, and an MFA from the University of Nebraska.

She exhibits her work nationally and has been included in shows at Rockford Art Museum, Dubuque Museum of Art, Elmhurst Art Museum, AKAR Gallery, Red Lodge Clay Center, The Clay Studio, Contemporary Craft, Morean Center for Clay, Baltimore Clayworks among others.

Jill is a senior research editor for Getty Images in Chicago and has her studio at the Midwest Clay Guild in Skokie, IL (

She lives with her husband and two cats in South Evanston where she realized her childhood dream of having a spiral staircase.


I have been constructing sculptures with holes punched through in regular, mechanical intervals. These forms have been iconic shapes, hollow with nothing inside.

As I was working through this series I thought it could be intriguing to show the viewer inside the sculpture and reveal something unexpected or unsettling.

I started creating archetypal forms with part of the exterior skin removed, revealing the inner space.

These interiors are not safe. They look unstable, rickety, and sometimes repulsive.

I use glaze to add an emotional element to the work.

The texture and colors are chosen to contrast the simpler exteriors and reference the body or something unknown, either off-putting or seductive. We all want to know what is going on inside, but we might not like what we see.

1. What are 1-3 books that have influenced your life?

As a kid I went to the library every day in the summer and spent hours reading and looking at the illustrations at all the books in the kids section. I was super into Dr Seuss books- the illustrations really got my imagination going. I loved all the strange dwellings and creatures, the places were wonky and odd - I wanted to put myself in those places.