Travis Berning is originally from Marienthal, Kansas. He received his Bachelor of Fine Arts degree from Wichita State University in 1995, before continuing to study at the graduate level at the University of North Texas. In 1998 he returned to Kansas to set up his own studio and spent the next five years as a full-time potter traveling and participating in art shows throughout the United States. His work has been exhibited in shows such as Ceramics USA and published in Clay Times and Southern Living.
When you look at Travis Berning's pottery you can almost feel his life coming through in every facet of his art. His childhood on a farm in Western Kansas made him love the combination of hands-on physicality and sensitivity to nature that is so evident in the strong forms of his pots. In 1991 Travis began his college experience at Garden City Community College on a two-dimensional art scholarship in drawing and painting. After taking a class in ceramics, however, Travis realized he wanted to work with clay. His painting professor urged him to remain in the painting program but it was too late. He had a natural passion for pottery.
In 1993 Travis transferred to Wichita State University, where he completed a BFA. The program offered great infrastructure for ceramic students, extensive emphasis on producing an abundance of work, but most importantly for Travis, a 24/7 access to the studio. The studio became his second home. Travis focused on developing technical abilities and originality as well as on the functional aspects of the pots. Striving to create something unique and own, he began experimenting with leaves in 1993 while in Wichita. The leaf images on the pieces reflect Travis' connection to and love for the natural world.
His grad school experience at the University in North Texas exposed him to incredible instructors among which Elmer Taylor and Jerry Austin, the opportunity to build his confidence, and the ability to critically analyze his own work. It reinforced the importance of originality and further relating work to his personal life. In 1998 following his graduate studies at the University of North Texas, Travis returned to Kansas to set up a studio in an abandoned chicken coupe on his parents' property. He spent the next 5 years as a full time potter traveling and attending art shows throughout the United States, all the time increasing his mastery of clay forms and techniques. His work has been exhibited in shows such as Ceramics USA and published in Clay Time and Southern Living.
In 2003 Travis moved to the Appalachian mountains of Western North Carolina where he partnered with Joe Frank McKee to open "Tree House Pottery" and establish the WNC Pottery Festival. His work continues to evolve inspired by nature. Travis is an accomplished potter and a highly respected member of The Southern Highlands (Appalachian) Craft Guild. Not much has changed since school. You can still find him in the studio 24/7 throwing and talking.
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