Arts & Entertainment

For ceramicist Joseph Cordery all roads lead to the Kimball Art Center

PARK CITY, Utah — Joseph Cordery has been actively creating ceramic art for ten years at the Kimball Art Center.

Recently, he presented his collection for the first time at the MINERS 9 show. He is a perpetual volunteer at the Kimball Art Center, and he has helped children and adults hand build pieces at the Park City Kimball Arts Festival in August.

Finding his artform

Handbuilt by Joseph Cordery. Photo: TownLift // Kirsten Kohlwey

When Cordery first moved to Park City in the fall of 1996, he wandered down Main Street and noticed the building that looked like a fixed-up garage. It was the Kimball Art Center. This discovery lead him to take a series of classes there.

His timing was impeccable. He took batik from Peg Bodell and one of those pieces was displayed at a local artist exhibition at the Kimball Art Center. Joseph Cordery says he still considers it “one of the best pieces I have ever done.” He took black and white photography from Kerry Jones, but he was really drawn to ceramics. Joseph Cordery taught himself hand building and Bruce Larrabee was his first wheel throwing instructor. Eric Christensen, who taught at the University of Utah, the Winter School and at the Kimball Art Center, refined his pottery.

Finding love

Artwork by Joseph Cordery. Photo: TownLift // Kirsten Kohlwey

The Kimball Art Center is where Joseph Cordery met his future wife. It was the spring of 1998 and she worked there. Abbey Petersen and Joseph Cordery married in 2003 on the banks of the Madison River in Montana, and settled down in Park City.

For many years Joseph Cordery stopped working in ceramics because he and his wife decided to buy a house and it took working two jobs to afford the payments. Over time, he was able to get back to ceramics. It was part of him and he couldn’t leave it behind.

Finding healing

Vessels by Joseph Cordery, Photo: TownLift // Kirsten Kohlwey

After Abbey succumbed to cancer in 2020, Joseph found his way back to the Kimball Art Center. Juanita Marshall offered a Saturday class on the one-year anniversary of Abbey’s death and Joseph Cordery took it. She, Tom Caswell, Brett Clark, Kati Gyulassy and others have been a great influence on him.

Now Cordery volunteers at the Kimball Art Center. He said, “The Kimball Art Center is a great resource for me…When I moved to Park City, I knew no one. It seems now that everybody I know can be traced to taking a class at the Kimball Art Center and getting involved in the art community.”

Inspired by nature and the local art community

Joseph Cordery’s two pieces at the Eccles Art Center in Ogden on the black pedestals. Photo: Joseph Cordery

Cordery’s art is inspired by nature. He likes freeform shapes and creating raku pottery. His textures and colors are inspired by rocks and trees.

In November he was encouraged by a local artist to enter the 2023 EAC Modern Abstract Competition held by the Eccles Art Center in Ogden. Both of his pieces were accepted and are on display Dec. 1 through Dec. 28. After an almost twenty-year pause, Joseph Cordery is one of the rising stars of the Park City art community. You can contact him at abbeyjoekat@msn.com.

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