Jeff Oestreich is a ceramic artist who works in Minnesota. He primarily makes functional work with minimal surface decoration and usually soda fired glazes. In his own words ‘Function is at my core….never take function for granted….’ He studied at the Bemidji State University and the University of Minnesota with Warren Mackenzie. In 1969 he also apprenticed under Bernard Leach for two years.
“My early pottery training at the Leach Pottery in the late 1960’s was heavily influenced by Japanese pottery, due to the fact that Bernard spent many years making work in Japan. Since that experience, my work has slowly moved away from this direct influence, although there are still the underpinnings of the pottery of Japan, China and Korea in my work, that being simplicity, directness of approach. I am currently doing salt glazing which has its origins in Germany. I have one foot in Japan, one in Germany, and an interest in Art Deco architecture. All things considered, my approach is American, borrowing from as many sources that speak to me.
I work under the umbrella of utilitarian potter, exploring and rearranging the boundaries I have set up for what I believe constitutes function. My current work is thrown and altered, either by faceting, stretching or cutting and rejoining. Being fond of glaze and not willing to give up this surface altogether, I play with the ratio of glaze to clay surface. My consuming interest over the past dozen years has been the beaked pitcher. Each series provides an opportunity to refine older ideas as well as introduce new information.”