I started working with clay seriously after moving to California eight years ago. Before that I lived in North Carolina, where we raised our sons and kept dairy goats. I’ve always had my hands in some kind of craft – carpentry, quilting, gardening, cheesemaking – but clay has taken over in recent years. I use wheel-throwing and hand-building to make sculptural and functional pieces. Whenever possible, I use clays and glaze materials that I gather locally. My work is fired in electric and wood-burning kilns.

Through clay, I’ve found strong communities in ACGA and the Palo Alto Art Center. I’ve been ACGA’s secretary since 2018, I serve on the Festival Committee as liaison with community groups, and I also help with exhibitions. Outside of ACGA, I’ve volunteered in our nearby high school’s ceramics program, and during the pandemic I organized neighbors to create clay totems that are now displayed on our street.

The pieces shown here came about as I pondered how we connect with the world outside of normal social exchanges. For me, books have always been both an escape and a way to hear other people’s thoughts and voices. Firing ceramic books becomes a metaphor for how powerful and resilient those words and voices can be. Likewise, I spend a lot of time outdoors studying the natural world, particularly birds. Influenced by my gig leading bird surveys at a local preserve, I find making birds in clay to be a kind of reassurance. I like the layers of resilience that exist in the finished work: there is the resilience of Nature itself, there is the resilience of clay when it’s been fired, and lastly, there are the seemingly ancient surfaces from the wood-firing that conjure wisdom of the deep past.