"I may start with some ideas and questions, but the wisdom is in the soil, just like the wisdom is in the clay. This properly humbles me, reminds me what my capabilities are, what my limitations are, and how generous the material is, how fortunate I am to continue exploring."
In the year of the suffragette centennial, a passionate collector lifts up women ceramists and considers the aesthetics of her holdings against the backdrop of her quarantine garden, "As often as I have the opportunity, I proclaim it time to aggressively advocate for the commitment of art institutions, collectors, schools, and professional associations to support women clay artists..."
I have defined happiness as being at peace. I am at peace with myself while working on my sculptures in the studio. All life’s problems are still in my mind, but working in clay puts them in pause. I feel excited, productive, and with a purpose in life, but in these uncertain times the connection to my artwork feels different. Baking sourdough bread has become another way to be at peace with myself.
Seeing the problem of woodfiring’s lack of exposure and accessibility to the general public, I set out to find a solution that provided engagement in this immersive experience to my immediate community.
“The Cup Library was created by students and faculty working with the Ceramics Apprenticeship Program as a creative response to a perceived community understanding of functional ceramics as an economic commodity.”
Writing a new book is like a new love. Initially, you find yourself infatuated. You can’t stop thinking about it, and you feel driven to talk about it. But the more you do, the more you see your family and friends’ eyes glaze over, and you decide it would be better for your real relationships if you divert your talking to writing.
At a very early age, I was orphaned and placed into the closed adoption industry. In 2018, I was able to secure my true identity. My studio practice has been the key to building a bridge to my past while constructing a future with the family I thought I had lost forever. For all those non-believers out there, it turns out that art does have the power to change lives. It certainly did mine.
Being on a platform; as, kind of, the token transgender individual in the clay community takes its toll. When I lectured at NCECA in 2017 on the panel "Gendered Clay," I had no idea what would happen. I could only tell my own story. I thought it was worth sacrificing my anonymity.
"I have been a student of the possibilities of the materials ... So many variables, so many decisions to make, and so many opportunities to make them. You learn failure is a part of success. Just like not every play will work as drawn out on paper, not every pot will make it through the process as desired, but each time you learn something that feeds into the next attempt. You are playing the law of averages. If you keep at it, something will start to work out."
Many of the challenges we are facing are not that different than those our mentors dealt with in academia. The next generation is becoming responsible for continued reshaping of the field, as they strive to uphold the standards and beliefs of our predecessors, while also trying to adapt to an ever-changing culture.
If Bernard’s Leach’s A Potter’s Book was the old testament for many aspiring studio potters internationally, Daniel Rhodes’ Clay and Glazes for the Potter was the new testament for those living in North America.
Pottery often has a relationship to its environment, from the wild clay potters of North Carolina to regional aesthetics like the ubiquitous Minnesota brown pot. Like most people these days, potters are also concerned with climate change.
When students rush into the classroom in the morning, beaming with excitement about a new technique they saw on Instagram, something good is happening. They are hooked on ceramics and fully engaged in the process.