Katy GeurtsPaxton, Illinois

Red Lodge Clay Center – Short-Term Resident (ASPN) 2024

Katy Geurts was born and raised in Loda, a rural east-central Illinois village. There she discovered a deep love for nature through craw-dad holes, mud pies, and junkyard tea. In 2021 Katy graduated with an AFA at Parkland Community College before transferring to Southern Illinois University of Edwardsville. While working towards a BFA in Ceramics she attended Penland School of Craft for a workshop with Paul Briggs in 2023. At SIUE Katy worked for one year as an Undergraduate Research and Creative Activities Assistant for Mike Stumbras. Katy is on track to graduate with a BFA in ceramics in May 2025.

In my ceramic work, I create biographical narratives with themes of family, upbringing, tradition, loving, matriarchy, home, and nature.

Self-reflection is the core motivator in my creative process. Meandering through clay, I explore abstract representational forms by intertwining natural representation, figurative forms, and a variety of vessel forms. My sculptures address the common theme of communication and the adventure that is understanding. I use methods of hand, coil, and slab building as well as pinching.

I have a heightened interest in the parallel between human and plant dynamics. As a highly sensitive person, I observe the many similarities in the ways humans and plants communicate their needs. Just like a flower, I may hang my head when I don’t receive the sun or the love and care I need. And just like a flower I struggle and must acclimate to a new environment, to an unfamiliar setting. The same tensions between humans and plants are manifested in my ideas as different media and dimensionality as I intertwine fibers and mixed media with ceramic. The general connection of nurturing and growth through independence as well as dependence dance along the dialogue of my ceramic pieces.

I seek to create a permanent record of the tenderness, nurturing, and loving quality of clay. There is flexible forgiveness offered in it, however, it does not forget. This principle of forgiveness with remembrance exists not only in clay but in plants and humans as well. While plants, when broken, may grow back, they will not grow from the same place. Similarly, humans may be hurt and move past their pain, but the scar or memory will guide their future experiences.

My awareness of tension also extends to the tension between myself and my ceramic work. Since most of my ceramic forms have become autobiographical, seeing my own feelings in a physical manifestation creates tension and a push between loving and hating my creations all the same. As a plant may flourish and bloom, it may also be poisonous.