holly walker ceramics

statement and bio

My pots are handbuilt, pinching up each layer of rolled coil to build form. Pinching is a slow, rhythmic process that allows time to envision a piece while building. The direct touch creates a visual tempo inherent to the building process. Throughout my forty-some years of working with clay, I have tended to work intuitively, encouraging a great deal of collaboration with the clay. Why earthenware? The physicality of earthenware clay in nature: eroding and tumbling, washing and settling with organic matter appeals to me. Earthenware is the common clay- its ubiquitous nature means that it is nearly always nearby or underfoot.


My first studio pursuit was in painting, and I continue to be informed by both contemporary and historical paintings. I approach the surface of the pot as a painter, using abstract geometric structure to map the geography of the pot, enlivening it with painterly brushing of colored slips and glazes. The glazes are playful, saturated, and luminous. Though densely layered, the resulting surfaces reveal the warmth of the red clay beneath, and patterns often punctuate surface activity. Such diverse works as the lush paintings of recent contemporary painter Thomas Nozkowski, and the current and historical quilts of Gee’s Bend inspire me.

This year you will find my work in Clay Akar, Iowa City, IA, The Clay Studio, Philadelphia, PA, the Penland Gallery, Penland, NC, Lacoste Keane Gallery in Concord, NH, and in the exhibits mentioned on my homepage. Please see my resume for a more complete listing of exhibitions, publications and workshops.

My ceramic work is widely published, and can be most generously found in “Everyday Ordinary: Art of the People” published through The Clay Studio, and “Inspired: Life in Penland’s Resident Artist and Core Fellowship Programs” through Penland School.

Resumé