Using clay, minerals, wood ash, water and fire,
I make pieces to that combine art and function.
After many years working as an engineer in Los Angeles, I’d finally had enough of big cities and moved to western North Carolina. I’ve always been creative but then I discovered clay. It’s taken over my life and I’ve spent much of my time since at the wheel, learning, improving and creating.
I studied pottery making in the Heritage Arts program at Southwestern Community College in Bryson City, NC and completed the Master Potter Certificate in 2014. Now I’m teaching the next group of local potters.
As a potter, I like to make functional work that is also attractive. I tell people that I don’t like to dust so I don’t make anything that has to be dusted. My pottery is intended for everyday use. At the same time, it’s art, incorporating color and inspired by nature. Inspiration comes from sources as varied as my garden, Japanese kimono prints, the trees I see as I drive to town, and woodblock prints.
I use smooth, white stoneware clay for all my sgraffito and mishima pieces. Each piece is individually thrown or hand built and trimmed. For sgraffito pieces, I cover the entire surface with underglaze at the leather hard stage and then use a stylus and small loop tool to “scratch” out the design. For mishima, the design is carved into the leather hard piece and the lines are filled in with underglaze and then additional underglaze colors added. Some pieces combine mishima and sgraffito. All the work is done with small tools, allowing very fine lines and detail. The techniques also leave a slight texture to the piece from the carving. The pieces are then bisque fired, glazed with a clear glaze, and fired a final time to cone 6 (2230 degrees).
Ash blue pieces are made with a speckled red clay. After bisque firing, pieces are dipped in a blue glaze then sprinkled with ashes. The interaction of the glaze and ashes produces the variegated colors and runs.
Contact me at SusanNCoe@gmail.com.