Chandra DeBuseKansas City, Missouri

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Chandra DeBuse is a full-time studio potter and educator in Kansas City, MO. Originally from a small town in southeast Nebraska, Chandra DeBuse earned a degree in psychology before discovering her love for making pottery. She studied ceramics at Penland School of Crafts in North Carolina and was a special student at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln before receiving her MFA from the University of Florida in 2010. Chandra completed consecutive year-long residencies at the Armory Art Center in West Palm Beach, FL and at Arrowmont School of Arts and Crafts in Gatlinburg, TN. During this time, Chandra was named an Emerging Artist through the National Council on Education for the Ceramic Arts (NCECA, 2012) and also was named an emerging artist in the May 2012 issue of Ceramics Monthly magazine.

Chandra moved back to the Midwest in June of 2012. She currently works in her Kansas City studio, preparing for national shows, workshops, and sales. Recently, Chandra was an exhibiting artist and demonstrator at Northern Clay Center’s American Pottery Festival in Minneapolis, MN. She exhibited her work at SOFA Chicago 2012 where she presented a lecture on the challenges and opportunities of emerging studio potters. Chandra’s playful forms and narrative pottery can be seen at chandradebuse.com.

My functional pottery incorporates narrative imagery, pattern and form to amuse and delight the user, imparting a sense of play. My work, in practice and product, reflects my approach to make-believe, which I identify through worlds of imagination with determined characters and landscapes of leisure. I incorporate bouncing lines, candy colors, low relief and hand-drawn elements into my ceramic service ware, encouraging a sense of discovery and exploration. Illustrations of anthropomorphized animals and stylized humans employ exaggeration, humor, and metaphor to facilitate the viewer’s ability to capture the narrative and apply it to his or her own life.

Patterns found within nature, such as tree bark, water waves, or flower petals are abstracted and simplified, ricocheting across forms. My salt and pepper landscapes, treat servers, jars, plates, cups, and bowls become play-scapes where pattern and character frolic; inviting human fingers to also roam the topography, seeking out their own morsels of delight.

Only through using the piece, holding and exploring it, can the whole image or pattern be seen. When someone laughs at a character I’ve drawn, spills their drink because they were investigating the bottom of a cup, or finds joy in discovering a plump spoon nestled inside a pocket, I know the pots are successful. Feelings of joy, delight, and amusement tickle the imagination and spark light-hearted behavior, resulting in an enriched life.