Photo By: Christopher Gauthier
Cj Jilek grew up outside of the Chicago area and found she had a few great loves: ceramics, travel, and the natural world. Cj earned her undergraduate degree in ceramics from Southern Illinois University at Carbondale in 1995. Afterwards she spent her time traveling and developing her ceramics. Cj moved to Northern California to wood fire where she created vessel forms, exploring the wood fire surface in conjunction with textures representative of the natural world.
Cj continued her travels through California and relocated to Santa Barbara where she taught ceramics for ten years with children and adults. Cj loves teaching ceramics for the opportunity it allows for a tactile experience as well as conceptual design. Cj’s background with ceramics as an art therapy medium allows her a perspective for teaching clay processes which benefits all her students.
While living in Southern California she traveled the western United States. Exploring from the sea to the deserts and all the mountains and flora between. Looking for a new direction in her art, Cj took a short-term residency at the Mendocino Arts Center, leading to her renewed interest in graduate studies. Utah State University provided her with the opportunity to study and travel; studying abroad in Australia and South Korea. She completed her MFA degree in 2010, after which Cj traveled to Poland to work in the traditional ceramic factories of Boleslawiec. Upon her return she has continued teaching for her community in the mountains of Colorado. After Cj’s love affair with snow ended she relocated to North Fremantle, Western Australia as the program coordinator for The Clay House a community ceramics studio. Teaching workshops across Australia, Cj has managed to create a nomadic lifestyle in her ceramics career and is always looking for her next workshop opportunity. Upon her return to the US she has joined the team at AMOCA Ceramics Studio.
Being inspired by her travels, Cj is creating porcelain biomorphic forms fired in oxidation with mixed media elements. Through her work she questions ideas of beauty, attraction, eroticism, adaptation and desire.