Looking at my work, I realize that I am a storyteller, but not in the usual sense. I build my stories in terra cotta clay , layering the surfaces with found object marks and fired colarants. These stories have no ending- nor do they contain answers to the questions they pose. They are inquistive, honest, and dwell on the mysteries and joys of daily living.

Each one of a kind sculpture is hand built, mainly using thick coils, then multiple fired. The pieces may be fired three to seven times depending on the color and surface that I'm trying to achieve. I approach the color on the clay as a painter. My palette is a combination of stains, glazes, oxides, slips, dry clays, underglazes and underglaze pencils. I mix- I paint, never exactly sure of the end results - another mystery. I enjoy the surprises!


Q. What is the primary motivation behind your work?
A. As an artist, just going into the studio is motivation. In fact I become quite restless if I am out of the studio more than a few days. Of course, the rituals of daily living such as the roles of the female and the personal relationships give me enough information to allow me to work for a lifetime. I am always in question while working – asking why, what if?

Q. How would you describe your creative impulse?
A. Being quiet with myself and allow free thinking in a notebook which could include writing, drawing. Listening to poetry and lyrics in music allows me to see the words and visualize. When I work – which is daily – I allow spontaneous actions to manipulate the clay. Ideas develop and stories appear. These stories dwell on the mysteries and joys of daily life. The search continues until I reach the core – the spiritual level of the sculpture. Then the work can speak.

Q. Why do you prefer to work with ceramics?
A. This is almost god-like, being able to create a form. I love the fact that I am working with basic elements from the earth. The warmth and freedom clay gives the sculptor is exciting and challenging to me. Plus working large scale is physically hard – and I like that. I like being pushed.

Q. Please give a basic description of your creative process.
A. Studio and me and music and clay and hours – I usually start five or six large pieces at a time since clay has properties (needs to set-up before adding more clay). This allows me to move around the studio working a little on each piece. Sometimes I have a basic idea or sometimes it is just faith. The actual building can take many weeks and then the clay needs to dry. After the drying, the firing of the pieces begin. Each piece is bisque-fired which takes a day. Then I become a painter and start working with the surface. All colorants on my work are mixtures of oxides, glazes, underglazes and slips. I will repeat the firing of each piece until I achieve the look I want for the piece. I prefer to look and observe the piece for a week or so before I have it photographed.

Q. Please correct me if I’m mistaken, but it seems as if you exclusively create the female form; how does this particular symbol/form suit your creative ideal?
A. I often question myself, who is this female? The need to express the female figure has visited cultures from the beginning of time and has continued to appear in my studio. I guess the figure could be a form of self-portrait. I do experience the female every minute; it’s what I know best.

Q. How do you choose your color palette?
A. Since I am working with clay materials for color, of course the colors will have a natural feel. The oxides which I use as a stain come from the earth. They are so rich and warm. I stay away from heavy glazes – I don’t want to cover my marks and cover the beauty of clay. Recently I have been using more blue – symbolic for water – which comes from cobalt oxide. Red is used as a memory and a big thanks to my mother. Most pieces finish with three red dots (this is a glaze) that is addressing my mother’s presence.

Q. How do you feel your work has progressed throughout your career?
A. Working daily allows this to happen naturally. Earlier works – more stylized, flatter surface, smaller in scale. The depth of the work can only happen with age, once life has been experienced. I reflect on my past – my childhood, the stories of the orphanage where my mother was raised, the rituals and rules of the church where my father was a minister, the loss of my brother from cancer at an early age, the birth of my children and my role as a mother, the fall of the family unit due to divorce and now, the joys of a positive relationship. Having all this stuff with me has allowed my work to grow. Of course technical skills have improved but it is the spiritual level that I can achieve with the work that gives it the soul and mystery.

Q. Which artists do you admire?
A. Favorite painter – Tapies – surfaces, freedom he allows me to feel, no limits; I could sit with his work forever. Creative genius – Picasso. All materials sculptor – Magdelena Abakanowicz – her strength and knowledge and expression.
                                                                                                                                                  -June 2007


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