Red Lodge Clay Center – Ted Neal Kiln Building (AIA) 2023
Kenzie LeMay was born and raised in Palmer, Alaska. Throughout her childhood, she explored a love of working with clay. After moving to Arizona at 19, she took classes at Yavapai Community College where she rediscovered her passion for ceramics. During this time, she became involved at The Reitz Ranch as a member of the studio community, where she was introduced to different methods of firing including wood, soda, and Raku. Before moving to Missoula, Montana, Kenzie also worked as a studio tech at YCC. She is currently in the process of earning her BFA at the University of Montana, Missoula, and will be graduating in 2025. Her work draws inspiration from the shapes, colors, and textures of the natural world. By incorporating these values into her work, she endeavors to translate the experience of nature into her pieces.
The goal of my work is to translate my experiences of the natural world by prioritizing organic forms and textures in the pieces I make. Whether it’s noticing the shape of a flower petal, the layers eroded away on rock carved by a glacier, or the specific texture of an orange in my fruit bowl, these moments stay in my brain until I am ready to again explore each detail as I translate them into clay. In turn, this reinforces my connection to both the natural object and the ceramic one in my hands. The practice of making is a form of calming meditation and patience for me as I transform raw clay into a reflection of my attentiveness to the environment. Whether my works are sculptural or functional, I want those who view and interact with them to be put in mind of the intimate, tactile essence of engaging closely with aspects of nature. Through color, texture, and form, I aim to create objects that remind people of their own engagement with the natural world.