Member: Orchard Valley Ceramic Arts Guild, Association of Clay & Glass Artists
Teaching Volunteer: Advanced Ceramics Classes, Gunn High School, Palo Alto, CA
Whenever possible I prefer to be outdoors. My college and graduate work focused on wildlife ecology, particularly on birds, but art, craft, and design have always been part of my life. Drawing, sewing, and carpentry are longtime pursuits which have informed my more recent interest in clay.
I started lessons on the wheel in Barcelona in 2008 and have continued with both throwing and coiling. Teachers in Spain, North Carolina, and California have made the journey much more productive and enjoyable. I like thin-walled, finely-trimmed functional pottery, but I also make tiles and larger pieces with more sculptural qualities.
In the last few years I've studied older pottery traditions, which has led to experiments with burnished and blackened pottery, terra sigillata, sgraffito, pit-firing, and ash glazes made from local plants. I've also started using found clays; that is, clays dug from the ground. They aren't always useful as clay bodies, but they can be beautiful slips. I like the whole process of digging, refining, and brushing on these clays, each with its own distinct color and response to firing.
There is great satisfaction in holding a finished piece of pottery that is useful and pleasing, but what I like best about working with clay is the link it forms between the ground, my hands, and the artistic impulse that led me to the wheel in the first place.
photo by Nancy Kalow