Jeremy Ogusky is an artist and activist: by creating functional ceramic art for use in the kitchen & home, Jeremy makes beautiful and useful objects while also building a more just economy and appreciation for craft. By making his wares accessible through his website and an online shop, Jeremy works towards subverting a system of “consuming conspicuously” and cheaply and provides a platform for community members and the world at large to make a conscious decision to support a local artisan – to buy from a person you know and have spoken to – rather than big-box stores. It so happens that through creating functional art, Jeremy is able to engage another interest: fermentation.
In Jeremy’s online store, he features his hand-made crock for fermenting, perfect for homemade sauerkraut, pickled veggies and – you guessed it – Kimchi! His interest in fermentation came about through his extensive travels through four continents. Wherever he went, it seemed as though fermentation followed him; in every culture a fermented food was a staple of the diet. “Fermenting,” Jeremy says, “is easy, ancient, low-tech & healthy. Eating live fermented foods promotes diversity among microbial cultures in your body. Fermentation is the opposite of homogenization and uniformity. It feels right for the body.” The pot he produces for fermentation holds approximately one gallon and sports a lid that will keep your vegetable of choice pickling away below the surface of the water.
Travel and social justice are latent themes in Jeremy Ogusky’s functional ceramic art. In 2002, Jeremy Ogusky began his commitment to Peace Corps in Lesotho, in Southern Africa. While facilitating health and HIV/AIDS trainings for the community, he also coordinated workshops in ceramic stamping and patternmaking. Following his time in Africa, Jeremy taught university-level Public Health in Cuenca, Ecuador for a year. He also spent that year collaborating with well-known local artisan Iván Encalada.
Since his return to the states Jeremy has continued to focus directly on the community and pursuit of all things local. In fact, his most recent project is titled Project Local. By using traditional ceramics and new media in tandem, Jeremy is able to track and expand the effect of his pottery on the community. The map denotes places of collaboration, demonstration and exhibition and is a successful evaluation tool for the artist, collectors and prospective buyers alike. Jeremy is constantly looking for more ways to dialog with the community about appreciation of craft and the politics of purchasing, in addition to supporting local businesses and organizations.
From Ecuador to our backyard, Jeremy Ogusky has travelled, educated, exhibited and crafted beautiful, hand made ceramics. Currently residing in neighboring Jamaica Plain, Jeremy has lived and worked in 3 continents, most recently in the States, Ecuador and Southern Africa. An avid supporter of all things local, Jeremy has served on Massachusetts Cultural Council’s Somerville Visual Arts Panel and frequently exhibits and donates work in support of, and in collaboration with, local businesses and arts organizations, schools and public health establishments in Greater Boston and beyond. Follow him on the Web, Facebook and Twitter!
“A desire to make good pots is a desire to make connections, and to create community among people through pots.” – Ayumi Horie