Celebration in Clay
MaPo Kinnord’s pottery is about form, function and life in New Orleans
For more than 40 years, MaPo Kinnord has been working with clay. Kinnord is a ceramic artist who uses stoneware, porcelain, raku and low-fired pottery to create her body of work, much of which has a strong architectural base and varies from large, well-engineered sculptures to elegant funeral urns. Her work has been exhibited at the Contemporary Arts Center New Orleans, Arthur Roger Gallery, Stella Jones Gallery, Baltimore Clayworks and Imago Mundi.
Kinnord was raised in Cleveland and earned a BFA from the Massachusetts College of Art and an MFA from Ohio State University. She moved to New Orleans in 1995 after attending a conference and falling in love with the city. She is now an associate professor at Xavier University of Louisiana.
“Teaching takes up much of my time these days,” she says. “It’s the best of two worlds. I love seeing young people mature. It’s a privilege to see how their lives grow both artistically and emotionally.”
While all forms of ceramic art are in Kinnord’s repertoire, she says her improvisational work is more enjoyable because she’s never sure where it’s going.
“It’s like jazz,” she says. “You create within a structure allowing yourself to be free. For me it’s the physical act of creating that is the most fun. It’s always exciting to see what clay can do.”
Kinnord still occasionally creates functional art as she also likes the idea of being a part of someone’s life on a daily basis when they drink a cup of tea or break bread with their family and friends.
In the heart of Mid-City, Kinnord lives in the ultimate studio and home. At the entrance is an ample studio full of ongoing projects, tools of her trade and plenty of space to create. Up a few steps is her residence, which is full of her lovingly collected artwork. Her gallery gloriously represents the art of the African Diaspora and includes artwork from friends and some of her favorite artists.
Kinnord’s work is about form and functionality; it’s also about space, both exterior and interior and she says much of her work is about celebrating life in New Orleans.
“Working with clay is a celebration,” she says. “I am tremendously lucky, I literally have my dream job.”