Stefanie Smith, an accomplished ceramicist from New Found land visited Mountain Seas in December. She worked prolifically on a body of work that she expects to exhibit in Newfoundland. Her Raku hand built objects were of exquisite quality and she passed some of her extensive knowledge on at a workshop for the Flinders Island community.
I am drawn to the ceramic medium because the intimacy it allows me in the creative process. Every step must be carefully thought out and planned for, but never so much so that it compromises spontaneity or intuition. When I create with clay my thoughts are fully focused on the material; what it feels like, how it moves, and where it wants to go. Through this the process becomes not just an intimate experience, but a spiritual one. It is my desire that this feeling is conveyed to the viewer through the finished pieces.
To communicate this sense of intimate spirituality I primarily explore small, delicate forms that urge the viewer to hold and caress them. They are decorated with ornate imagery that is symbolic in nature, with use of repetition and fragmentation that encourages the viewer to look closely and from all angles.
The vast majority of my work is done using the smoke firing process. I am drawn to this technique because it requires me to 'give the piece away' to the elements of nature; to allow the fire and smoke to complete each piece. This makes me feel as though I am more of a collaborator than a soloist, and it is an overt acknowledgement of the important role that fire, air, and water play in the life of a ceramic artist. The process of revealing the pieces from the ashes after the firing is also significant for me as it makes every firing exciting, and every completed piece feel like a gift.
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