Mary Fischer – Red Lodge Clay Center

Mary FischerDripping Springs, Texas

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For our fortieth birthdays, a friend and I gave ourselves  clay lessons at a city-funded facility a few blocks from my house in Austin. After becoming addicted, I took classes at the Southwest Craft Center, now the Southwest School of Art, in San Antonio, which offered a wider range of courses and experience. Also because the facility in Austin burned.

After buying a few acres west of Austin, I built a small house and smaller studio where I work and feed deer.

I make what I do in clay because I want to. Talking about the why and wherefore usually means taking liberties with the truth. What is true one day may not be the next. What you swear by one day, you curse the next. As with all things in nature, a state of flux is the rule and means all is well.

The focus of my work is architecture. I look at buildings in the wild and in books. They get jumbled in my head and sorted out by my hands. The buildings started as boxes. Lids became roofs. Feet and chimneys appeared, and things go on from there, changing from season to season.

Surface treatments and forms change over time as different things capture my interest. This includes using various techniques for printing on clay. The timelessness of indigenous architecture is an abiding influence. At the other extreme, agricultural and industrial complexes,  like those found along railroad tracks, are equally influential.

The making of houses is largely intuitive, but in order to get the “right” proportions, I sometimes make paper models. Building with extruded pieces is like playing with Legos. The more pieces you have to play with, the more you can move things around until the right combination appears.