While pursuing an art degree in interior design with a concentration in history of furniture at San Jose State University, I had the opportunity to explore many media; wood furnituremaking, ceramics, textiles, painting, sculpture, printmaking and photography. Two things happened. First, I realized I would never be bored; there were simply too many ideas to explore in one lifetime. Second, I was introduced to and fascinated by the work of Georgia O'Keeffe and abstract realism.
After earning my degree and working in architecture, I became a furnituremaker. I incorporated O'Keeffe's motto "Simplify, Eliminate, Emphasize" as the theme in my work. Then I discovered clay. Being also an abstract painter, the clay vessels became my three-dimensional canvasses, sensuous and tactile.
My work is hand built or wheel thrown, sometimes a combination of both. I concentrate on low fire techniques such as raku and pit and barrel firing. Raku firing is done quickly, reaching the desired temperature in under an hour. The white hot pieces are then pulled from the kiln and cooled rapidly in open air, submerged in water, or smoked in combustible material. Barrel firing is a wood fired technique where I am able to “paint” the pieces with fire and smoke. In both methods the results vary widely. No two pieces will look the same. Recently I have had the opportunity to explore a Medieval Eastern European low fire technique of glazing to make ceramics relatively more watertight, called obvara.
Today I live with my husband Jeff in Corvallis, Oregon, nestled against the Coast Range Mountains in the beautiful Willamette Valley. Three dimensionally I work with clay and wood. Two dimensionally I paint with watercolor. Three media, one theme: abstract realism.
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The pieces below are of my recent work.
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These pieces are available. I can also create a piece similar to past pieces, however each one is unique.
Raku as a style of pottery began in Japan
in the late 16th to early 17th century. Our
Western style raku developed from this in
the early 20th century.
Bisque fired ceramic ware is coated with
glaze or left bare, without glaze, and then
placed in the raku kiln. The kiln is heated
quickly, in about an hour, to approximately
1850 degrees F.
The hot ware is pulled from the kiln and
quickly cooled traditionally in water or air, or
in the Western style of combustible material
as shown here. The ware is placed in an
airtight container of combustible material
such as paper, wood shavings or dried
The container is covered and the fire
consumes the oxygen inside, starving the
glaze and smoking the ware inside. This
is called post firing reduction. Chemical
reactions take place during reduction that
produce reds, blues and purples in the
copper based glazes. The results vary
dramatically with each firing.
Raku pieces are for decorative use only.
They are not watertight or food safe. To
use as a vase, place a plastic or glass
container inside to hold water or use dried