Elisa DiFeo – Red Lodge Clay Center

Elisa DiFeoBrattleboro, Vermont

Red Lodge Clay Center – Short-Term Resident (AIA) 2019

I attended the Rhode Island School of Design and received a BFA with a focus in clay. After 2 years of doing post-baccalaureate studies, I began working for Silvie Granatelli in 2005. I then went to the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, and received my MFA in 2010. My first daughter, Mena, was born during the last year of my studies. My spouse, David Eichelberger and I were granted a one-year residency at the Appalachian Center for Craft in Smithville, Tennessee. We developed a way to work together in the studio during this time. He was then granted a three-residency at the Penland School of Crafts in Penland, NC. Our second daughter, Louisa was born during the first year there. In our final year at Penland we started a collaborative line of slip-cast porcelain wares, under our business name Two|One Ceramics. We spent another three years in Floyd, Virginia running our business, teaching, and having our third daughter Frida. Currently, our family is settling in southern Vermont, where I run our studio business in Brattleboro. Two|One Ceramics has become an 1800 square foot space that both my spouse and I make our own work as well as continue to collaborate on projects now with various designers and makers.

I use subtle curves and oblique lines to create objects for contemplation. By producing a formal experience with interior and exterior space, ideally an emotional response from the viewer results. Often, the work I make is derived from a thought or memory of a functional shape, and maintains a connection to this source by having qualities you might find in a bowl or container. The act of receiving and holding are characteristics of functional pottery that interest me, and I relate them to my current work to share a sense of intimacy and accessibility.

The formal characteristics of my work are derived partly from bodies, landscapes, and functional vessels. I have looked to these forms as inspiration to simultaneously reflect ideas of comfort, the expansion of space, and containment. These references offer a visual vocabulary of slight bends and contours, which I use to create spaces for intrigue and thought. The viewer’s response may be similar to various shapes and formations in nature that we cannot easily characterize, yet attract us with their sense of mystery. Indentations meet with supple bulges to create joints and edges. Where these transitional moments interact on a form, the eye has a place to rest and focus. Quiet, sensual volumes push and pull to produce subtle tension in the form, which emphasizes the sense of containment and areas of visual access.

Soft, muted colors enhance a sense of calm introduced by the forms. My work is composed to enliven parts of the objects, with matte surfaces against glossy surfaces, as well as to accentuate the relationship between the surface and the form. I am using muted colors because they allow light to be both absorbed and reflected. The use of complex tints adds to the richness of the pieces, because their sense of depth highlights edges and bulges.

I make visual experiences that intend to create a sense of ease to the spaces around them. They feel and sound soft, and excite the desire for a tactile encounter. My work can both embrace and be embraced, and it intends to accesses the full range of that experience.