C.A.Traen creates ceramic sculpture and vessel forms with playful introspection evocative of childhood memories and adult experiences viewed with fresh wonder of youth. The work serves as a reminder to not take one’s self too seriously to avoid the pitfalls of philosophic conundrums, instead find the humor and joy in the frustrations of life.

Traen uses a variety of forming methods ranging from mold making, wheel throwing, and soft slab construction to reflect the conceptual content of each body of works.

Figures constructed from handmade press molds are reminiscent of the industrial fabrication process used to produce children’s poseable “action figure” toys. This process allows uniform scale and proportion for intriguing replication that comments on today’s fast-paced, technology driven lifestyle.

Sculptural forms made using the potter’s wheel then altered create a sense of fluid movement and ease of existence. These works reflect upon the perception of balance found in natural life that is in reality a dystopian fallacy.

Richly textured soft slabs construct vessel forms while weaving a narrative tapestry of layered impressions from found objects that develop conceptual and emotional meaning in the moments they are pressed into the wet clay.

Candy colored glazes contrasted with rich neutrals hint at an alternative point of view afforded by optimistic perspectives, as even the most mundane task can become a wild adventure by simply changing how it is perceived.


Multillusion: Getting Nowhere (2016)Multi-limbed figures existing dynamically in space began as figurative movement studies and developed as a metaphor for our futile flailing in life though the fast pace of multitasking in today’s world society.

Stemmed in the concepts of Italian Futurism movement that examined the impact of technology such as the camera, airplanes, and advanced warfare at the turn of the 20th century, we are again at the rise of a new century with a new kind of technological impact. This influence of the new technology is vast and yet to be recorded by time.

Technology allows us to be with so many people in so many places at the same time…we are often no longer where we are “in real life” (IRL)…or even more disturbingly, “away from the keyboard” (AFK). The world passes us by as we are deluded by the illusion of productivity and multitasking, the idea of being so busy with everything that we have no time for anything.

Beasts of Burden

C.A.Traen Fish Out of WaterVessel forms with animal characteristics are prominent throughout human civilization for rituals and entertainment. This work examines our human perspective of animals as needing to serve a purpose for man, to be beasts of burden to be owned.

Some animals are perceived as cute, glossy idealized “memes” of baby pets and sweet creatures. This often triggers a sense of pity or need to care. If a creature is deemed to be “cute” or “adorable”, people may exclaim…”I want one!” To what end do we “own” another being? What are the ill effects of being kept for the animal?

A creature considered “ugly” or “gross”, people may recoil, or wish for it to be killed. Why can we judge another being’s value or worth? Aesthetic differences aside, no consideration to what the animal as a sentient being with their own purpose wants or needs in its life.

Rather than simply being a sculpture, in this work the animal continues to serve human kind as a functional vessel form as well as to be aesthetically or emotionally pleasing. The concept of “purpose” or “function” is further emphasized by the vessels being formed using the traditional method of throwing on the pottery wheel. 

RoCat Fuel Collection

RoCat Fuel: Cosmic Candy Demitasse (2016)Layered tapestries of textural compositions are cut and folded to create vessel forms. Candy colored engobes and glazes drag and break to highlight textures contrasted on naked clay. The contrast of vibrant color against black and natural clay body highlight the concrete reality of day to day survival in the jungle of life and encourage an optimistic, adventurous point of view.

Found objects pressed into the clay surface record the aesthetic of the moment in time the impression is made. Objects are chosen and arranged based visual strength and interest, but emotional attachment and deeper meaning develops as the textures are paired with others, creating a mythology or story that can be interpreted infinite ways.

Rockets symbolize exploring the mundane with a fresh perspective of imagination and possibility. They illustrate the dream of a new way, more rich and flavorful than ever imagined possible on a canvas created by the individual. These works encourage the viewer to bravely make their own way in life.