Ceramic artist Mary McGill presents her portfolio of sculptural works that each tell a story. Find out more about her work by visiting her website.
After being home raising three kids for many years, I decided to pursue a design degree. While taking a required drawing class, I discovered my passion! The room connected to a ceramics studio, where people were throwing on a wheel. I was mesmerized.
I started taking classes and helping around the studio. Loading kilns, making glazes and soaking up all the information a college studio has to offer. As time went on, I bought my own wheel, then a kiln, and I was able to devote myself full time to creating and firing my own work!
As with most ceramic artists, I started with cups and bowls etc. There is such beauty in a well thrown vessel, but it was never enough for me. When making functional work, I throw the base, then hand build the rest, adding or subtracting clay to create an overall balance and calm within the chaos of the piece. I create vessels that may have a bit of mystery about their actual practical purpose or utility, and also humor!
My process for sculptural work is best described by George Ohr, a famous Biloxi potter, who wrote “Clay follow the fingers and the fingers follow the mind.” That, is my process exactly. Form follows feeling.
When I start a new piece, the work takes on a personality and story. I enjoy working in a series, and using symbolism to convey an emotional response. I strive to show the journey life gives.
For example, I have been using butterflies in many of my pieces. The symbolic lesson of the butterfly is to accept the changes in our lives as casually as she does. The butterfly embraces the changes in her environment and body… the journey is our only guarantee… our responsibility, is to make our way and try to emerge from our transitions as brilliantly as she.
I follow thoughts, impulses, try this or that. Sometimes it works and sometimes it does not.
I have just finished my interpretation of the “Seven Deadly Sins.” I loved doing the research, and portraying with a bit of disturbing humor, this ancient classification, that has been used since early Christian times to educate and instruct fallen humanity’s tendency to sin.
Art for me is a joy, and I feel so very thankful that I am able to pursue my passion for this complex art form that allows me to communicate, learn, and grow every day.