Deb SchwartzkopfSeattle, Washington

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Working in clay is elemental: water and earth touched by hand and fire. I am fascinated the processes of ceramics for their intuitive and technical aspects. I build porcelain forms whose hard lines and soft planes are geometric and sensual, elegant and animated, architectural and organic. Rich layered surfaces and the effects of salt firing are used to visually enhance and soften an active form. I want my work to be a part of daily life by participating in the rituals of preparing and eating food. To promote this interaction I create pottery that is comfortable and encourages discovery through use. Through the awakening of personal association and connection to a piece I hope to enrich the life of the user.

Clay’s flexibility allows me to stretch, bend, cut, fold, stack and attach parts. The roots of this process grow from my knowledge of sewing, which taught me to transfer patterned planes into curving hollow forms. Visual engagement with my surroundings often sparks form and glaze decisions. I see linear shadows of post and chain fences arching across the sidewalk. Stark rooflines hang geometric shapes in the fullness of the sky. The arrangement of planes and lines and their volume, shadows, and implied motion intrigue me. In the conception of form I strive for the emotion and energy of a full and swelling curve, for the expectancy of an opening apple blossom. I see these curves repeated in a full sail made taut with directional wind and the softness of the human body filling anew with each breath. I want to evoke emotion through association to shape and color and communicate a relationship between organic motion and geometry in surface and form.

Nature’s placement of hue makes me aware of details and fleeting moments. The color shift in the petals of an orchid, bring attention to its center, seducing its honeybee. A signal of red on the humming bird’s throat hovers in a muted environment. These visual messages imply function and call for exploration. In this way I use the nuance of color placement to arose curiosity, convey a message or excite the user’s memory. Reflection on my surroundings, emotion, the physicality and process of clay, are puzzled together in functional pottery that enriches and celebrates daily life. I add my own articulation and touch to this tradition and pass it on for another to hold and know.