Enjoy the clean contemporary designs of ceramic artist Wendy Durand, and visit her website to see more of her work.
People often wonder about the early Influences in an artist’s life and what created the spark and the dream. For me, I grew up in a household devoid of art – no painting, sculpture, glass, or pottery – not even music. Television was the highest form of “art” in my home.
It wasn’t until college that I saw a potter throwing on a wheel. I was mesmerized…but it never occurred to me to major in art – a decision that would not have been accepted by my family…however, I did hold onto my dream.
I spent 30 years as an executive director in women-focused nonprofits (rape crisis, healthcare, and domestic violence). When I moved to Florida, I became the finance/administrative director for a new arts venue. It was the first time that I had full exposure to art in all its forms. And I loved it.
One day, a friend asked me what I would have done with my life if I wasn’t an executive director. Without hesitation, I replied I would have become a potter. She bought me a bag of clay for my birthday and within a year, I quit my day job and was well on my way to fulfilling my lifelong passion.
From my first touch, I knew that this would become my life’s work. There is something calming and centering about clay that allows me to fully express who I am. My work has evolved over time from wheel-thrown vases and jars to sculptural and functional handbuilt work. It wasn’t until I discovered handbuilding that I found what allowed me the most creativity and finally gave a voice to my work.
I learned that like all small businesses, you are a one person show. You are the artist, the accountant, the photographer, the shipper, the marketer and the salesperson. In short, you work countless hours a day to make your best work, find a way to get it to market, and manage it when you make sales.
I currently make three lines of work and sell in three types of venues. The first is usually larger scale, often small series work that allows me to experiment and sold through retail galleries and high-end indoor art shows. My second line, called “Epicurean Sculptureware” (pictured here), is based around cocktail party entertaining, rather than sit down dinners. This work is sold primarily to galleries on a wholesale basis. A third and new line is personalized closed boxes that are being sold as urns through funeral homes.
The major influences on my work are both external (water) and internal (personality). I grew up on Long Island, surrounded by water and now live overlooking Tampa Bay. My art often includes work based on sea anemones and various kinds of water vessels. Other characteristics of my work are sharp edges, reflecting my often very direct personality, balanced by the revelation of my softer inner core and a love for texture and elegance in my art and life.
Wendy Durand invites you to follow her on Facebook.