Ceramic artist Joanne Brown’s work is about pattern and texture in nature and the results of growth and decay. See more of her fascinating portfolio by visiting her website.
I found clay later in life (about 20 years ago) and was driven to the tactile properties. I signed my son up for a children’s class, met the teacher and signed myself up for a summer class. I stayed in that class for eight years.
I have taken every workshop and class that I could “get my hands on.” In 2004, a life changing event made me realize that my own studio was needed. I took off from there, working in the studio as much as possible. I did some high end shows but found that it was detrimental to the joy of creating, although I did love the positive feedback.
Everywhere I go I observe and discover texture. On trees, pebble strewn paths, the bulging growth and decay of nature, its shrubs and flowers. On beaches, coral, rock and shells yield their stories of erosion: the earth’s force, sea currents, the wind and sand whittle away at each shape creating a singular form and telling a story of adventure, a path that brought them to the beach on which I find them.
With these textures in mind, I want to create something pristine, an untouched landscape.
While working on a piece, my mind wanders. The piece guides me. I have no idea what it will look like. Instead, I explore the clay as if it were (and it is) the earth’s geography that I am traveling.
Even as I focus on the detail of the object I am creating, I am thinking about the next object I will develop. In this way, I am always on a journey. I have taught myself to take time in working each piece. But my mind is restless. My mind and I are already traveling to my next project.
When my husband and I retired, we moved to Anna Maria Island. I wanted to meet people so I got involved in a gallery studio situation locally. My small studio in my house is perfect. I am finally able to work in it after construction which lasted about two years, and life gets in the way.
My new body of work is about containment and protection. I am finding the present state of the environment so endangered. Thus, the holes in my new work. I am very excited about this new body of work and can’t wait to get back to my studio and work.
I love the contrast between the textures I find in nature or create and the smoothness of still water. These became my inland seas: a container dominated by texture holding placid interiors of water. I tend to work on forms that contain and in my vision protect.
My pieces may reflect a journey, let’s say a shell upon a beach, simultaneously they take me on a journey using the very substance that is earth. It is this clay that becomes the vehicle of my explorations in art, my journeys over the earth’s surfaces and in my imagination. It is the world I want to preserve.