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From my early childhood I seemed to understand that clay, when put to fire, makes a permanent thing. My father was a bricklayer. Our backyard was good red clay. Our coal furnace, with its handy ledge, was where we placed our crude pinch pots to bake. All of these things nurtured my interest and sparked a life long relationship with this wonderful fluid medium. I learned hand building and throwing techniques in high school and continued my education with a full tuition art scholarship to the University of Northern Iowa. Ceramics was my area of emphasis. I taught high school art for five years until our first child was born. My pregnancy eventually made wheel throwing impossible so I began hand-building pottery, which is my preference to this day. My husband, Richard, is also a potter and former art teacher. Together we staged our departure from education to full-time potting. By 1980 we were doing up to 30 weekends of art fairs a year as professional potters.
I would describe my work as decorative/functional. I maintain the vessel form but focus on elaborate highly colorful surface patterns derived by using many glazes that are applied onto pieced together slabs and coils. It is not unlike mosaic but more fluid since the clay is still wet when assembled. The surface patterns are carefully designed to compliment the pottery form as well as exhibit good design compositions. I use both abstract and figurative subject matter derived form nature. Iron wash is rubbed onto and wiped off of the bisque ware to give more warmth to the clay body. Glazes are then painstakingly brushed on. I select a color palette from approximately 90 glazes. I also leave part of each pot unglazed revealing the iron washed surface which tones down the rightness of the glaze by contrast. I fire to a cone 5, which is the low end of stoneware. This makes the work watertight without burning out the colors. Vases, bowls, plaques, masks, and sculptural forms are a few items in my repertoire. My pots are one-of-a kind and made by my hands only. Sizes range from 4” to 24”.
We live in an overly processed world of shortcuts. Society has a disconnection with its understanding of the processes of how a thing is made and from what. The hand maker has the advantage of experiencing a problem-solving process from beginning to end. This freedom also allows for the creative process to flow uninterrupted to an intimately personal conclusion that is esthetically pleasing. This human connection is a major selling point for handmade work. My customers meet me, can ask questions and take home something unique and lasting.