Carol Gouthro: Anthozoa gouthroii “Chromatella”, 2012, Terrecotta clay with underglazes and glazes, 6”h. x 10”w .x 6”d
Elizabeth Shriver: Deep Forest Flora, 2011, Ceramic, 13 x 18 x 13 in.
Elizabeth Shriver: Seed Pod, 2007, Ceramic, 13 x 17 x 17 in.
/ Read the full interview in Ceramics Now - Issue Two
Ceramics Now Magazine: Growing up near the ocean around natural diversity and continuous change, you have developed a very finite line of work. Do you visualize your work from the very beginning?
Debra Fleury: I spend a lot of time sketching and planning. My sketches can be very specific and architectural, or very loose and gestural. But ultimately, I am an intuitive thinker. I rely on feeling and instinct in my artwork. When I sit down with clay the careful preparation is put aside in favor of the moment. Once I have the clay in my hands, I am often swept away by the possibilities I encounter as the clay begins to express its properties.
Do you remember the first ceramic piece that you created? How did it look like and how do you feel about your evolution as a ceramic artist?
I remember the first piece I created that had an impact on me. It was a little pinch pot, a half sphere and nicely formed. It was so perfect, likely the best I had made to date. I wondered what would happen if I dropped it while it was still malleable. I decided to indulge this impulse and I let my little pinch pot fall. The perfectly round rim became this very interesting, offset elliptical shape in response to the force of the impact. After it was fired it retained the mark of that force. It looked plastic, but it was solid.
This experience helped me recognize the approach that I wanted to take with this medium — to enjoy the process and avoid feeling that the work is precious. The visual aspect of the work is compelling to me, but the process is the lure.
Tidal, 2011, Dark Stoneware, Porcelain and glass. Fired to cone 6, wall installation. Dimensions variable, average size per individual piece is approximately 10x10x8 cm - View her works
When constructing a new piece, you are using different materials such as clay, glass and glaze. What challenges you the most by combining these materials?
I love the unknown. I love being surprised by the materials and I love experimenting. Combining clay bodies with different shrink rates, adding glass, or using glaze in an unconventional way are a few of the methods I use when courting disaster or looking for insight. I push the materials toward something that I think will be interesting, but I never really know what will happen. Opening the kiln after a firing can be like meeting the work for the first time.
“The environment is in a delicate balance between well-being and decline. For a healthy society, we must be responsive to the fact that all of our activities affect the Earth. My sculptures express the beauty of nature and the tension created by man’s manipulation of our environment. I use the beauty of form to increase the viewer’s emotional connection with nature. This connection to nature can expand one person’s, and ultimately our society’s compassion for the natural world.
Historically we have manipulated plants by gathering seeds, grafting limbs, and controlling pollination of plants with traits we find favorable. These qualities were gradually developed over countless generations. What is different about our more recent modification of plants is the far-reaching selection of traits from organisms that would not be accessible without genetic engineering. For instance, splicing a fish gene with a strawberry to make the strawberry more resistant to cold could not occur if not for techniques developed by scientists. This kind of manipulation is dramatically different from our prior system of plant selection and has potentially profound effects on the Earth.
I use manufactured elements in my work to create a tension meant to bring about a consciousness within the viewer, to open a dialogue about contemporary society’s association with nature. This discussion can raise awareness of the danger that our current situation poses. A lack of responsibility and stewardship for the Earth creates many problems for the planet, among them degradation of our basic life support systems, as reflected in the loss of biodiversity, increased toxicity of our food systems, inefficient use of natural resources and global climate change. I hope that my art will encourage viewers to educate themselves and become increasingly proactive in assuring a sustainable future.” Steve Belz
Barbara Fehrs: Art Nouveau Vessel
Jasmin Rowlandson: Arcing #2
Jasmin Rowlandson: Myriad #2
Jasmin Rowlandson: Flora
“The core inspiration of this body of work is a celebration and dedication to the immense beauty and fragility of the natural world.
My sculptures are explored from a feminine viewpoint and inspired by my relationship and fascination with nature, the land, water, and the environment.
Current inspirations stem from places that captivate and hold an emotional and visual pull, from certain areas of coast, reef, field, and wood. To the uninhibited growth of corals, lichens, mosses and fungi. The eroticism of unfurling flowers. The awakening of seeds confident of their purpose. The wild places under log piles housing micro worlds.
I’m exploring the rare, the everyday, the endangered, the ordinary and the spectacular.
My work is made from porcelain paperclay and terracotta paperclay. One of the many qualities of clay that I embrace is its capacity to hold movement and energy. By Working with a paper clay of my own mix these qualities continue to resonate once the work becomes ceramic thus enabling me to create my desired delicate, organic, fronded forms. I employ different methodologies of making depending on the requirements of the individual piece. Most of my work is hand built but I also work with paper-thin sheets of clay and some press moulding techniques.” Jasmin Rowlandson
“I have a strong interest in natural forms, cultural artifacts and personal mementos. I am drawn to ornament, embellishment, pattern, and texture. For the last ten years the vessel forms in my ceramic work have slowly been evolving into botanically inspired hybrid sculptural forms. In working on these pieces I have become more involved with the details, the close ups, the abstract, the peering into. My interest in detail, layers and encrustations has been heightened by repeated travels to India and China. I am fascinated by the complexity, diversity, beauty and danger of the natural world and this leads to thoughts about growth, nourishment, attraction, and sexuality. Built into these hybrids are some of the artifacts and mementos that form my DNA.” Carol Gouthro