I came away from the SAC Cup Exhibit thinking about dividing my ceramic surfaces into separate areas for decorating. Two exhibiting artists: Maureen Mills and Rena Hamilton both used designs to create divided spaces on their three dimensional forms in a way that intrigued me.
The design elements, the choice of clay and firing, and the resulting richness of the surface make for interesting and complex work. The work seems similar at first, but when researching the artists, their stories are different. The dividing space becomes design elements chosen for different reasons.
Maureen Mills, the director of the New Hampshire Institute of Art is a teacher, an artist and a published author describes her work in this way: “My work continues to explore the contradictions of delicate surface techniques combined with the strength of (certain) clays. When fired in a wood burning kiln, the surface can become almost obliterated with melting ash, yet the subtle quality of surface depth that is achieved continues to strengthen each form.” Rena Hamilton, lives and works in Flagstaff, New Mexico. She describes her work as being “rooted in the philosophy of a balance in opposites; masculine-feminine, work-play, whimsical-austere.” She says, “most of my work starts on the wheel and is often embellished with freehand scrolled drawings, slip trailing, stamping and underglaze transfer images and then fired in a wood and spray soda kiln.”