After spending most of her life in Alaska, a long term residency at the Archie Bray Foundation in 2005 shook Carla Potter loose from the hold of that vast domain. Inspired by her residency at the Archie Bray she went to the University of Nebraska Lincoln to get her MFA.
Carla spent 15 years presenting workshops in the public school system in Alaska. She has been a teacher and presenter in many collaborative projects that involve the public and institutions such as the Monterey Bay Aquarium in Monterey California and the Sheldon Art Museum in Lincoln Nebraska. Carla has shown her artwork extensively around the states of Alaska and Montana. Since her time at the Archie Bray she has pursued a national audience and has been part of many exhibitions across the country.
Working from her studio in Helena, Potter uses hand building techniques and works primarily with porcelain. Her work has taken a dramatic shift from the exuberant colorful sculptures inspired by her Alaskan environment to making delicate unglazed porcelain vessels and figurines that weave her own personal narrative with her experience of nature, Catholicism, other artists and the history of European art.
I make small-scale narrative sculptures that show me at various ages interacting with objects that are emblematic of experiences throughout my life. The passion I had as a child for picking huckleberries and dancing, laces its way through teapots, body parts and small dramas of myself interacting with artists, artworks and iconic objects.
Porcelain is traditionally associated with luxury, wealth and fineness. Nineteenth century Parian Ware figurines were made of unglazed porcelain to suggest the famous marble sculpture in Classical Greece. They made imagery from famous artworks readily available at a miniaturized scale for the home. Figurines of the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries depicted light-hearted genre scenes as well as historical subjects. My figures play on the viewer’s expectations of the medium, by inserting complex and personal psychological content into the decorative realm of the figurine.