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Artist Statement

As a potter, I concentrate on vessel forms. I am attracted to the co-themes of their use as containers and servers for food and beverage and their metaphoric meaning as containers and servers of space and spirit. I am awed and inspired by the myriad forms that a variety of cultures and often unknown artists have created throughout human history for everyday use and ritual functions. I strive to pay homage to this rich history through my work processes and personal interpretations to create ceramic vessels that through their use and presence will add spirit and pleasure to one's life.

By nature, I tend to work in a few different styles rather than focusing on one. For basic functional wares, I utilize white stoneware and porcelain clays for their smooth surfaces and response to color, including color within the clay. I often utilize layered and patterned combinations of colored clays with wheel-throwing and slab-building for both functional and more decorative vessels. Slicing and carving into the swirling surfaces of wheel-thrown vessels exposes variegated patterns resembling mineral and rock cores, wood grains, and exposed earth strata, while stretching clay slabs during hand-building distorts and expands patterns. The results usually surprise me and also remind me of the geological processes the earth undergoes to produce the clays and glaze materials I employ. Finally, during a trip to Japan to view its treasured historic pottery, I was drawn to the stories, surface decorations, and patinas of Yayoi period bronze bells, which led to a broader interest in Asian ritual bronze vessels. Recently, I have been working on a series of tall covered urns incorporating sprigged and carved symbols on the surfaces to represent respect for nature and for lived lives. I enjoy moving back and forth between these styles. Exploring a new form or surface element in one style releases a new idea for another, linking my creative cycles to history, tradition, and the earth.


Following retirement as an engineering and technology manager with Shell Oil Co., I turned my passion hobby of pottery into a second career. I was an artist-in-residence at the Houston Center for Contemporary Craft. My stoneware and porcelain vessels have been selected for and won awards in invitational and juried exhibitions, including the Amarillo Museum of Art (first prize), Kent State Cup Show, Las Cruces Museum (museum purchase award), University of Dallas, Hill Country Arts Foundation, TCAA Attachments 15 Invitational (during NCECA), Houston Center for Contemporary Craft, Houston Airport Collection, and several galleries in Houston. I have published articles in Studio Potter and Pottery Making Illustrated, conducted workshops and presentations based on my colored clay techniques, and juried the 2014 San Antonio Potters Guild exhibition.

I co-founded and was chair/co-chair of Empty Bowls Houston, which has been held annually since 2005 to benefit the Houston Food Bank. I am a co-founder of ClayHouston, a regional ceramics guild, and served as President and several other roles on its Board. I also was a docent at the Houston Center for Contemporary Craft and served as Secretary and co-chair of the Education and Community Engagement Task Forces on the Center's Board of Directors.

(Photo courtesy of Karen Bruce)

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