My senior year of college, I took a hand-building ceramics class because I was required to take a 3-dimensional art class for my art major. That class made me fall in love with ceramics. Don’t get me wrong, I love painting and I love digital design, but there is something so nice and rewarding about creating a 3D object with your own two hands, whether for art or function. The fact that it can often be functional is also really nice. I only have so much wall space for paintings, but can always use cups, bowls, mugs, vases, and platters (or gift them!).
Anyway, the class I took in college was a hand-building class (not wheel-throwing), so I made several platters, but mostly art pieces instead of functional ones. I made a giant artichoke (you can see it on my living room bookshelves in our house tour, here), a miniature replica of my childhood home, and a few other pieces. Unfortunately, I took the class my senior year and didn’t have a chance to continue into ceramics more than that.
Signing up for another ceramics class has been on my list of things to do for several years and this year I finally made it happen. Well actually, a friend of mine, Christina, who has an extensive ceramics background, made it happen. She wanted to get back into ceramics again and asked if I wanted to join her.
We signed up at a local studio (Earth and Fire Studio) for two hours one night a week, for two months.
During this studio time, I decided to learn how to work on the wheel. It takes a while to get it down, but I’m so happy with the 11 pieces I made in the last couple months!
None of them are perfect (which I kind-of love), but they are all functional! The first pieces I threw are the short, fat ones (that light pink one in the back and the white speckled one in front) and then as I got better I was able to make bigger, thinner, pieces like the mugs and bowls.
Ceramics is such a process. Cutting and wedging the clay, working on the wheel, letting things set-up and get leather-hard, carving, trimming, making and attaching handles, bisque firing, glazing, final firing. I think it is really neat how ceramics relies on all the elements – earth, water, air, and fire.
I’m so glad I took the time to learn this new skill and to spend time with a friend while doing it. I wish I had more time and energy to keep doing it! I’ll be back again sometime! In the meantime, I’ve been enjoying drinking my morning tea out of a nice ceramic mug I made myself!
As you may remember from my mention in this post, I was part of an art exhibition in New Orleans this past June. It was sponsored by RAW Artists and you can see my RAW profile here. It was a long and crowded evening downtown with a variety of art and entertainment. There were visual/fine artists, jewelry artisans, music performances, fashion shows, and performance art. It was an interesting evening, but I’m happy I had the chance to participate.
The best part of the show was that it really pushed me to create new work. The top nine paintings on fabric/canvas were new for this show. The only ones I’d shown before were the small framed ones from my BA Exhibition. It was also great to have this show as a push to work on updating my branding.
Lots of family and friends either came out to the show or expressed their support which really means a lot! If you weren’t able to make it, watch the video below to hear a little more about my inspiration or read my artist statement below.
I have always had a love for art, a desire to create, and a passion for making things beautiful.
“I AM GOING TO MAKE EVERYTHING AROUND ME BEAUTIFUL — THAT WILL BE MY LIFE.” —ELSIE DE WOLFE
As both a person and an artist, the world of my childhood—growing up in the country surrounded by nature—has always been my biggest inspiration. The organic forms, deep, complex colors, rich contrast—the ever-changing landscape is endless inspiration to me. I grew up in rural Southern Illinois on land that has been passed down through my family for generations. Before I started school, I spent every day with my grandmother, who encouraged my love of watercolor painting and being creative and who established the foundation for my personality and moral beliefs. My grandpa wrote stories, fished every day, and grew a huge garden that I helped him harvest. I loved snapping off the ripe asparagus, helping my grandma cook, and feeling the country breeze while laying in the hammock in their backyard. Just down the road was my own house, where I climbed trees and ran through the creek with my sisters and brother, helped my dad work in the yard and feed our chickens, and helped my mom plant flowers and herbs, cook and bake. Throughout my childhood, my mom imparted to me her creative knowledge—sewing, hand embroidery, cross-stitch, smocking, machine embroidery, knitting, crocheting, and basket weaving. This home-made, home-grown, down-to-earth, appreciate-the-simple-beauty upbringing encouraged me to develop a simple and creative life that I still strive to maintain.
“IF I WERE CALLED UPON TO DEFINE BRIEFLY THE WORD “ART,” I SHOULD CALL IT THE REPRODUCTION OF WHAT THE SENSES PERCEIVE IN NATURE, SEEN THROUGH THE VEIL OF THE SOUL.” —PAUL CEZANNE
Living in New Orleans over the last several years and finally having a space to call my own has also given great influence to my work. There is no other city like New Orleans with its rich history, abundant nature, brightly colored houses rich with architectural detail, and vibrant color combinations. I’m so intrigued by the color harmonies found in the world around me, particularly those that can be soothing and exciting at the same time. I’ve always associated certain colors with particular things—days, people, memories—and I enjoy exploring those connections through my work. My first love has always been painting, but I enjoy mixing mediums and incorporating drawing, pastel, fabric, sewing, embroidery, quilting and pattern into my work, exploring how those elements can intertwine with paint to create images. One of my aesthetic and conceptual goals is to somehow marry all these different elements—mixed mediums, neutral and bright color combinations, the contrast of subtle and bold, thick and thin brushstrokes, paint drips, pattern, lines, shapes, nature and the domestic world—into a quilt of sorts, all parts orchestrated together to create an abstract moment of beauty, a complex image made up of simple parts.
“THE MAIN THING IS TO BE MOVED, TO LOVE, TO HOPE, TO TREMBLE, TO LIVE.” —AUGUSTE RODIN
As pretty as most of my inspiration is, not all areas of life are picture perfect. Often the greatest and most meaningful moments of our lives are also seeped with sadness, hurt, sorrow and loss. My art aims to tell these stories and explore these personal histories—the good, the bad, the beautiful and the I’d-rather-forget—illustrating the struggle, but choosing to see the good in those memories, moments, periods and people, choosing the kind word over the bitter one, letting the good overshadow the bad, living a positive and uplifting life despite the circumstances, seeing the beauty in the imperfect, and focusing on a heart of gratitude for the beautiful imperfections in these moments and in our lives. I want to take those moments and turn them into something both beautiful and tangible, to inspire and uplift through the expressive form of grace, the way only art can do.
If you want to check out more of my artwork, you can visit my portfolio website, here.
If you follow me on social media, such as Instagram, then you’ve probably seen me posting a lot of photos and updates lately about painting, my art exhibition coming up, and my art branding re-design. In just under two weeks, I’ll be exhibiting my art in a RAW artist exhibition in New Orleans. It should be a really fun event, so if you live in the New Orleans area, you should really think about coming! You can find out more information about the show and the artists participating, here, and you can see my profile and buy tickets from me, here. To get ready for the show, I gave my art portfolio website and branding a little update, which you can check out online, here.
To see more of my artwork, visit my art portfolio, here.