Red Lodge Clay Center Long-Term Resident 2009-10
Kyla Strid was born and raised in Anchorage, Alaska. She started college following in the footsteps of many family members by studying engineering. With encouragement from her grandmother and support from her parents, she changed course (and schools) to study art. Eventually she landed in a ceramics class where she fell in love with making pots because they bring together design, science, and art.
After completing her BFA in Ceramics at the University of Alaska Anchorage she looked outside Alaska to build on her education and professional experiences. She studied at the University of Nebraska- Lincoln and received her MFA from Ohio University. She has been awarded residencies at the Clay Studio of Missoula, Red Lodge Clay Center, Guldagergaard (Denmark), the Lawrence Arts Center, Haystack, and Penland School of Crafts. Kyla gained extensive professional experience working as a studio technician, studio manager, gallery manager, and curator at various institutions across the country.
Currently, Kyla lives in Lawrence, Kansas and is the Director of Residencies and Adult Education at the Lawrence Arts Center. Outside of her ceramic studio, she is an avid gardener, foodie, adventurer, and part time printmaker. And of her many adventures, consulting on the archeological dig of a Minoan Pottery Workshop on the island of Crete has been one of the most meaningful experiences that continues to inform how she approaches making pots.
By making functional ceramics, I am continuing my family’s legacy of creating useful things. I grew up in a house my parents planned and constructed themselves. I came to appreciate working with my hands and creative problem solving by helping my dad with his building projects. My imagination and inclination towards engineering grew from these experiences to intersect in my handmade pots.
For me, building with clay is like constructing a house out of fabric. I want angles, edges, and geometry, but I’m also interested in the softness of the material. I envision a lifestyle, place, and occupants for each little house and then I build to suit. Starting with a specific use or occasion in mind gives me design parameters for each pot. I then tailor the form to my scenario.
After piecing together a form, I address the surface like my mom decorates cookies-one toothpick of icing at a time. In an equally intricate manner, I wrap my surfaces with sinewy line drawings. I pull imagery from folk textiles of my Swedish heritage, adding my own tones in composition or content. In my layouts, I also look to early Japanese porcelain where distinctions between pattern and imagery are blurred. While my surfaces nod to theirs, the drawings have threads of my story that tie the work to my hands.