Summer Carmack – Red Lodge Clay Center

Summer CarmackMissoula, Montana

Red Lodge Clay Center Long-Term Resident 2014-16

Summer Carmack was born and raised in Iuka, Mississippi. She received her undergraduate degree from the University of Mississippi, affectionately known as Ole Miss. While studying at Ole Miss, Summer participated in her first ceramics class with Professor Matt Long. His passion and commitment to his craft was contagious, and Summer soon changed majors to pursue a BFA in Studio Art with an emphasis in Ceramics. Since devoting herself to clay, Summer has participated in work-study programs at Penland School of Crafts and Arrowmont School of Art and Craft. She is a former Long-Term Resident at the Red Lodge Clay Center in Red Lodge, Montana.

Each Christmas, my family gathers in my grandmother’s home to celebrate. My grandmother supplies the spread, and there are several staples that reappear each year. Among these staples is sherbet punch, always offered in a large crystal serving bowl. The bowl sits centered in the table with uncannily small cups with even smaller handles dangling from the rim. These memories of childhood, holidays, beautiful gardens full of flowers, and a kitchen table bursting with comfort food compile influences from home that I often see in the things I create. I am constantly reminded of forms, objects and traditions surrounding family. My memories speak of my wistfulness for childhood through tea parties, porcelain doll collections, and dressing up in my grandmother’s rollers and old dresses. Simultaneously, they speak of womanhood and the femininity that has shaped the person I am now.

The culmination of these ideas, including references to Victorian costumes and textiles, account for personal choices in aesthetic and adornment. Eighteenth-century Georgian-era silversmith pieces speak to my affinity for spout and handle decadence and monotone glaze palettes. The alluring nature of medieval period manuscripts and historical calligraphy are referenced in the curves and assemblage of form.

My love for clay lies within an appreciation of the inherent qualities of the material. The strength of clay, balanced with its fragility at certain stages, informs the method of creation of an object and entices me to create. Using wheel thrown and hand built porcelain, I attempt to seduce the viewer with graceful lines in form and clean, solid craftsmanship. Attention to detail and fluid movement throughout each piece is meant to enchant the viewer with nostalgia for childhood and dress-up.