Holly Walker has served in administrative roles as Director of Watershed Center for the Ceramic Arts (ME), Educational Outreach Director at Penland School of Crafts (NC) as well as Gallery Assistant and Archivist at Penland. Teaching venues include semester courses at Rhode Island School of Design and Nova Scotia College of Art and Design. Workshops at Haystack, Penland, and Arrowmont Schools of Craft, and lectures and workshops at numerous universities round out Walker’s occasional teaching.
Her work is exhibited widely, recently including Lacoste Keane Gallery, AKAR, The Clay Studio, TRAX, and Penland Gallery. She has been invited participant as well as co-curator at Worcester Center for Crafts Invitational. Her work is in numerous collections including John Bullard, Gail M. Brown, Museum of Contemporary Craft Portland, and San Angelo Museum of Fine Arts.
Walker’s work and thoughts have been widely published, most recently in “Inspired: Life in Penland’s Resident Artist and Core Fellowship Programs”, “Mastering Handbuilding” by Sunshine Cobb, and “Glaze: The Ultimate Ceramic Artist’s Guide to Glaze and Color” by Brian Taylor and Kate Doody. She is a recent recipient of a Frog Hollow /Vermont Craft Association Artisan Grant and a Vermont Arts Council Development Grant.
My current work is influenced, as always, by my internal logic as well as daily occurrences. Lately, auditory cues seem to fuel me as much as visual sensations. It could be the singular birdsong at first light that becomes a cacophony of voices creating a layering of pitch, texture, and rhythm, which is suddenly shot through with the town’s train whistle. Or listening to a Beethoven sonata, its structure presented, expanded, broken, enhanced, the pulse quickened. Or playing Poulenc nocturnes on the piano: the unusual chords unfamiliar to hand but yielding such satisfaction. Observances such as these weave through my day in the studio, sifting out in mysterious and abstract ways. I remain open to the idea that an unforeseen disruption can lead to a novel outcome.
Visually, I’m drawn to playful, luminous, oddball colors. I aim for isolation and clarity of color, as well as luminosity. I find inspiration in such diverse works as the lush paintings of Thomas Nozkowski and the pieced quilts of Gee’s Bend. I lean toward more austere, spare forms: architectonic, Shakeresque. I often use geometric structure to map the space of a pot. The pinched coils create a visual tempo and rhythm, inherent in the process. Antiphonal call and response music seems the perfect parallel of working intuitively in the studio, as each exchange with the clay beckons the next.