Johnine Hoehn | Thirty-odd | Shows | Seven Days | Vermont's Independent Voice


Johnine Hoehn

When: Nov. 2-Dec. 1 2021

Johnine Hoehn Thirty-odd owner Moe O’Hara has an eye for the unusual, humorous and downright quirky. Johnine Hoehn’s ceramic works tick all those boxes. So it’s not surprising that O’Hara chose to spotlight them in her Burlington shop this month. Among the hundreds of artisan-made goods in the Pine Street showroom, Hoehn’s porcelain pieces stand out — even those just a few inches high. It’s clear that the Shelburne resident, who creates her work at the Shelburne Craft School, has many ideas. In a phone interview, Hoehn said her “figurines” are series of “little thoughts, non sequiturs”: One idea leads to another, and another. This is evident in her tiny head-and-torso pieces. Some are human, some are monsters and some are hybrids, such as a person with tentacles in place of hair. “I’ve always loved old monster movies,” Hoehn said. But her ceramic versions, she believes, are “kind of fun monsters.” Though her first foray with the medium was a class focused on making bowls and cups, Hoehn wasn’t satisfied with functional items. Experimenting with slab clay caught her imagination; she began hand building plates and painting them, often with funny messages. “Everyone liked them, so I started doing more,” she said. Examples of her plates hang on the wall at Thirty-odd. The text is sometimes in German — for example: “Alles hat eine ende, nur die Wurst hat Zwei” (“Everything has an end, only the sausage has two”). Hoehn’s newer wreath series is also wall-hung. But don’t think greenery and festive ribbons. In a piece titled “Bad Hair Day,” a woman’s long blond locks enwrap her head and form a circle — the wreath — around her. One blue eye peers out, looking alarmed. Other popular series are Hoehn’s milk cartons — ceramic recreations of the pint-size ones served to elementary schoolers — and her anthropomorphized bananas. Hoehn suggested that many of her inventions are “lighthearted but dark.” But her faux perfume bottles with labels such as “Nihilist” are about as negative as she gets. Mostly, she just loves absurdity. “I think what I try to do is make other people smile,” Hoehn said. “I really like that anyone can buy my art. It’s approachable.” See more at Hoehn’s Instagram: @funf005.