Marianne McGrath: What I See, What I Saw II, 2011, unfired earthenware, plywood, steel rod, wax, 4’h x 10’l x 20’x
“One of my interests is in making multi-component, interactive sculptures. Most of these works have innumerable permutations for viewing. Perhaps partially influenced from my background as a professional musician, these flexible sculptures allow for creating variations in the artwork such as might be experienced in the live performance of a musical composition from concert to concert. Some of the works may appear to be “games,” but generally there are no rules for arranging the components.
I work primarily in porcelain because this claybody receives and juxtaposes textures so articulately. Glazes are employed minimally; some works make use only of slips, underglazes, and oxide washes. My building combines altered wheelthrown as well pure handbuilding techniques.” Suzanne Stumpf
Suzanne Stumpf: Interactive Sculpture No. 9, 2008, 16”h x 8”w x 8”d, wheelthrown porcelain with handbuilt components; black slip and shellac resist; oxidation fired to cone 10
Although Interactive Sculpture No. 9 appears at first glance to be some sort of game, there are no rules here. It is intended for the playful pleasure of the viewer to arrange the sticks with their different colored tips entirely to their own whim. (When all the sticks are removed the work is a trompe l’oeil with the raised black dots hiding its holes.)
“My work mainly consists of salt-fired Porcelain and Stoneware. The salt-firing process is unique in that salt is introduced into the kiln when it reaches the proper temperature (2345 degrees F for my work). Inside the kiln, the salt vaporizes and settles onto the pieces, forming its own glaze over the clay body. I also use various slips and glazes to further decorate the pots.
In my functional work, my goal is to make the pieces “special”. I hope that everyday users will appreciate being “in the moment” as they sip from their hand-made cup or enjoy soup from their favorite bowl.
My sculptural pieces all have specific meaning for me, but sometimes are just fun! I don’t wish to impose my views of the work upon others, but would rather viewers lend their own interpretation to the pieces within their own contexts and ideas. Most importantly, I hope the sculptures will inspire viewers to pause and consider how the piece relates to their lives.” Deborah Britt
Deborah Britt: Blue Butter Dish, 4” x 6”, Wheel-Thrown and Altered, Salt-Fired Porcelain with Slip and Glaze Decoration, Cone Ten, 2011
"As a commercial artist designing products for retail store windows and interior displays, trade show booths and special events, I worked with many different materials to create three-dimensional objects. When I retired and started working with clay, I realized that clay was an exciting and wonderfully tactile material which I had to explore in depth.
I’m intrigued with the concept that the artist’s hand can manipulate clay into a work of art which expresses an emotion, tells a story, can be functional or is purely visually appealing. At times, the clay seems to have a life of its own as it leads me, morphing from one form and concept to another. On other occasions, I can envision the completed piece before even touching the clay.
Inspired by Nature, my work reflects the unlimited variety of textures, patterns, and energy I find in my natural surroundings. Texture and the tactile sense have always been an important part of my work. I hand build with clay slabs, coils, and extruded shapes and use various clay bodies, firing processes, glazes and cold finishes for making different forms and surface textures.
I enjoy creating artworks which not only express my love of Nature, but which also allow me to bring the essence of the outdoors into interior spaces.” Kathy Pallie
Kathy Pallie: Fire – Passion. Earthenware, glazes, 20”H x 13”L x 11”D, 2011
Kathy Pallie: Earth – stability. Earthenware, glazes, 18”H x 18” Diameter, 2011
Kathy Pallie: Bamboo Triptych. Stoneware, glazes, 15”H x 28”L x 3”D, 2009
Kathy Pallie: Out of the Woods. Earthenware, acrylic cold finish, 48”H x 96”L x 7”D, 2009
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→ The full interview with Connie Norman is featured in Ceramics Now Magazine - Issue One / Winter 2011-2012.
Ceramics Now Magazine: Text and pattern is seen everywhere on your works; they make a fantastic rhythm and enhance the forms. When did you start to use text on your works?
Connie Norman: My current style using text started years ago when I was making mixed media sculptures that were mostly clay integrating text. I gave myself the challenge to make something esthetically pleasing. What I wanted to do was -to be able to tell a story with pots. I suddenly had the revelation of incorporating the text onto my pots. But it is very ironic that I use words on my work, because I have always struggled with writing. And I still do! When I was working in sculpture I only used single words, but now I have expanded to phrases.
You recently came home from Ethiopia. What did you experience there? Tell us your impressions.
My journey to Ethiopia started approximately four years ago, when my husband and I started the adoption process for our son Vander. In 2009 our permanent relationship with the country of Ethiopia started, we traveled to Addis Ababa, to pick up our son. As the days, months and years went by; I realized I wanted to give back to the country that gave us our son. I started looking for a way to go back to Ethiopia and volunteer. I went to Ethiopia this past July for three weeks. I worked with three organizations, One Child Campaign, Vision on Africa and Mission Ethiopia.
I worked with women to help restore their dignity who are HIV positive and who have leprosy, and women who are destitute. Through the language of clay we were able to communicate, laugh and be with each other without a common language.
The women of Mission Ethiopia are HIV positive and suffer from leprosy; these women are considered outcasts and unemployable. Women like these and their children, spend their days searching the garbage dumps for food. Now, these women make pit fired beads, which are fired on the ground in an open fire.Currently they are able to feed their children and themselves.
I sat with the women much like an old fashioned quilting circle, they showed me how to roll the beads in my palm and decorate each bead. While we were making beads their children ran in, out and played outside with meager toys like old tires, but were always smiling.
Vision of Africa is an organization that is helping destitute women in many diverse ways, they provide medical care for mothers and children are educated on contraceptives, sponsorship programs of orphans, and of course they train women to be potters. Ceramics in Ethiopia is a very hands’ on process I was asked to help the women with their production process, but I felt like I learned more from them, than they learned from me. Tigist, the master potter gently guides the women from mixing the clay they collect from other regions of Ethiopia, to hand building bowls, vases, spice cellars, and coffee pots, and much more. While I was there, Tigist did a pit fire with me. I was amazed at her skill; she laid the green pots near the fire and slowly moved them into the fire ring. Then just like in American raku, she threw the pots in some dried leaves for a post reduction process.
"Me in Ethiopia with boys from one of the orphanages in Addis Ababa. I caught my frist chicken."