Katherine TaylorAustin, Texas

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

In 2015 I moved to Austin, Texas where my husband and I, our 2 cats, and 7 chickens are working hard to rehabilitate an old house in South Austin. This life change was an abrupt pause to my art making, until I returned to making my sculptures and pots at Eye of the Dog Art Center in San Marcos, Texas. When I wasn’t working at the studio, chasing termites out of the house, or cleaning up chicken poop, I was working with the contractors to build my own studio in my backyard. In the Spring of 2018, we finally finished the studio and I am currently working hard to make friends with this new space. I earned my BFA from Texas A&M University – Commerce in 1998, my MFA from Syracuse University in 2002, and was a participant at Skowhegan School of Painting and Sculpture in 2002. Artist residencies include the Snake Kiln Culture Park in Shui-Li Taiwan in 2006, Liv I leire in Oslo, Norway in 2009, and Tainan National University of the Arts in Tainan, Taiwan in 2013. I moved around the country teaching at various universities as an Adjunct and Visiting Assistant Professor. When I moved to Austin, I decided to start a new studio and a new direction for my life and work.

Many things have changed in my work and life over the past 4 years.  My first 20 years with clay in my life involved study, teaching, traveling, and making sculpture.  There was a certain rhythm that had developed that fit the making of conceptual and narrative sculpture together with the academic obligations that I experienced as a nomadic professor.  Then one day in the Spring of 2015, I realized that teaching wasn’t going to be a part of my life anymore. That summer we sold our house and my studio in Little Elm, TX, put everything in storage and bought a mess of a house in Austin, TX. We had flipped our lives upside-down.  My life became a balancing act of house renovation, studio construction, and itinerant clay working.

Fast-forward to the Spring of 2019, I have a new studio in my backyard and a small house that is somewhere between beautiful and terrifying, depending on which room you are in, how high the lizard population is, and which glasses I have on. When I returned to clay working fulltime in my own studio, it was clear that what was important for me to make was changing. The last body of work from my old studio was generally about the landscape and the cultural history of farming communities around East Texas. The nerikomi colored porcelain and casting techniques that I used in those sculptures were as important to the content of the work as the imagery was. The sculptures were also about the process of change, and how change can be marked by the passage of time.

Change and time are things I think about a lot lately in my work. I am especially interested in the different ways that ceramic processes document time, how concise moments are captured in the clay, and how glazes record time as they sag and run in the kiln. I still enjoy these processes in my sculptures, but more and more I am realizing that the exciting thing is that pots do all of this all by themselves.  And they do it all with the added comfort that they are already something that we think we already know: a bowl, a cup, a plate. I have been making more pots than sculptures lately because of their ability to document time with bold-faced honesty. Pots also have a way of feeling like they are always moving forward.  A single pot is a moment in time that points to the pot that is coming next. I find that progression to be such a positive and forward feeling way to balance the rhythm of work and life.