Susie MeskillSilver City, New Mexico

Red Lodge Clay Center – Short-Term Resident 2023

Susie Meskill was born and raised in St. Louis, Missouri. She was introduced to pottery during high school at a local community studio. She continued to work with clay while pursuing a Bachelor’s degree in Psychology from the University of Denver. She currently resides in Silver City, New Mexico. She is completing her second year as a post-baccalaureate student at Western New Mexico University. Susie primarily creates wheel thrown utilitarian pieces with an emphasis on form and color.

Curiosity is a defining force in my life. During my childhood, I was awestruck as I witnessed my dad build stools in his woodshop. I gravitated towards becoming a maker as I enjoyed the specificity of each tool and the tangible nature of assembling parts to make a larger project. At my grandparent’s house, I was privy to an up-close view of centuries-old antique furniture and had access to a sizable range of craft supplies. My mind was infused with an appreciation for handmade objects. My attention turned to processing events in the environment in order to learn how objects were built, why some chairs were too “special” to sit on, and what I could create with my own two hands.

My forms are often inspired by found objects, architecture, design and minimalist art. The smooth curve of a chair might translate into the arc of a handle while the pattern of a contemporary quilt can appear as shapes underneath a glazed surface. I integrate the subtle and inexplicable moments in my life that arouse satisfaction. The concept of time also influences my creative process, as the rhythm of this medium is a slow, steady evolution. When moving forward with an idea, I explore technique and create prototypes in search of a complete form that produces a childlike feeling of pure joy. I am motivated by the challenge of problem solving and intend to be a catalyst for a novel experience through my artwork.

Working with clay allows me to witness these joyful memories as they manifest into a physical space. My work investigates the psychological relationship between humans and objects through the lens of the creative process. As a ceramic artist, I experience the full range of emotions while making. I incorporate moments of whimsy, intimacy, flow, and discovery into my pieces that can be heightened through interaction with the universally familiar material, clay. I want the viewer’s experience to mirror my own in the making process. I create functional ceramics that speak to this process of rethinking the ordinary by infusing elements of mystery. Constructing my pieces in ways that visually obscure their purpose inspires the viewer to inquire further. A surprising experience is bound to unfold during the transition from visual to tactile. As humans we often judge and categorize from far away. It’s not until moving closer that we can learn to appreciate all the depth people and objects have to offer. I hope to elicit joy through discovering layers of surface detail and nuance of color each time my work is handled and explored.