Functional works decorated with sgraffito
I grew up in the mountains of Virginia and, like many people who live in the mountains, I am inspired by the views and natural environment around me. As a child I spent most of my time outdoors and spent hours looking at nature very closely. I loved picking Irises and dissecting them into their fuzzy, sticky, colorful parts. I have memories of eating small, sun-ripened strawberries and that magical, powerful feeling of pulling a large beet from the ground. These wonderful childhood memories, in conjunction with my current day to day life and connections to nature, form the inspiration for the imagery and surface decoration on my pottery.
My mother is a pastel artist and my father is a stonemason. Some of my earliest memories are of my mom letting me use her fancy pastels and watercolor paper to make my own artwork and the unwavering artistic support she gave me which made me feel confident and deserving. My dad instilled in me a pride in things made by hand, fierce self sufficiency, and making do with very little. These early lessons in craft, frugality and appreciation of the beauty of everyday nature, created my internal base values which eventually steered my life path towards ceramics.
I took my first ceramics class at Earlham College. I started working in the sgraffito style during my junior year after I met Karen Newgard in Asheville, North Carolina. Sgraffito is a decoration technique in which a slip is carved through to reveal a contrasting colored clay body beneath. I mainly work with black and white sgraffito in which I paint a black underglaze over my pieces and carve through to reveal the white clay beneath. The end result is reminiscent of a linoleum block print.
I make functional ceramics, meant to infuse daily routine with beautiful, fun imagery to elevate daily moments and bring us back into the present.
Most of the imagery I put on my pieces is from nature: flowers, vegetables, fruits, people. I choose imagery based on positive memories or positive feelings I currently have with the image. I chose a strawberry motif for the memory of eating sun-ripened strawberries as a child. I drew a person holding a sleeping dog based on the deep feelings of love and coziness I get from cuddling with my own dog. I hope the audience finds the images beautiful and fun and provocative of their own positive memories and feelings.
I hope to make the world a better place through bringing art and beauty into people’s daily routines, and also monetarily through donating percentages of my proceeds to different non-profits throughout the year. I make some political pieces like my “I’m gay” mug and my Ruth Bader Ginsburg Dissent Jabot Mug to promote visibility of the LGBTQ community in a fun way and the awesomeness of inspirational Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg. Using my art as a platform for political awareness and support of marginalized groups is an important part of my practice which I hope to continue to expand.
My art going forward will be exploring larger pieces like vases and pitchers that allow for greater imagery expression, more pieces that express political messages in fun ways, and will also explore different surface decorating techniques like mishama. I am passionate about my work and energized to continue exploring my own abilities and ideas in the supportive community of seasoned artists at Odyssey Clayworks.