holly walker ceramics

statement and bio

My pots are hand built, pinching up each layer of rolled coil to build form. Pinching is a slow, rhythmic process that allows time to envision a piece while working. I enjoy the directness of touch with pinching, and the quality of light on the dimpled surface.

My first studio pursuit was in painting, and I continue to be inspired by both contemporary and historical paintings. I approach the surface of a pot as a painter, brushing colored slips over the raw terra cotta surface, layering multiple glazes after bisquing. When looking at a finished piece, I like to see back through the layers to the beginning of the process. I aim for the speed, the pulse, and the tempo of making to be revealed in the pot. Throughout my forty years of working with clay, I have tended to work intuitively, encouraging a great deal of collaboration with the clay. Experiencing the clay as a living material keeps each piece fresh for me.

Why earthenware? The physicality of earthenware clay - the image of it eroding and tumbling, washing and settling with organic matter appeals to my poetic nature. Earthenware is the common clay- its ubiquitous nature means that it is nearly always nearby or underfoot. The red brown of terra cotta clay provides a rich, warm hued base for layering colored slips, and lends itself to an extraordinary palette of glaze color. Earthenware clay remains open; it can still breathe when fired.

This year you will find my work in Dow Studio Gallery in Deer Isle, ME, Frog Hollow in Burlington, VT, The Clay Studio in Philadelphia, PA, the Penland Gallery in Penland, NC, Lacoste Keane Gallery in Concord, NH, and in the exhibits mentioned on my home page. Please see my resume for a more complete listing of exhibitions, publications and workshops.

My ceramic work is widely published and can most recently be found in Sunshine Cobb’s 2018 book, “Mastering Hand Building”. Penland School’s 2016 book “Inspired: Life in Penland’s Resident Artist and Core Fellowship Programs” has an interview and photographs.