I became fascinated with clay when I took my first ceramics class at the age of 19, and it’s been part of my life ever since. I love the magic of transforming a formless lump of earth into a piece of art – something that can add beauty to daily life and meals or decorate a home or yard. My work is inspired by the natural world around me and the art and places I’ve been lucky to see when I’ve traveled.
My recent work uses a variety of techniques and clay types. Porcelain brings out bright colors and contrasts, and stoneware highlights the connection between the clay and the earth from which it’s dug, White earthenware allows me to use a full palette of brilliant and pastel colors. Some of my work reflects the rhythms of Chesapeake Bay and oceans and is inspired by my work career as a marine ecologist; other pieces explore interesting forms and both realistic and abstract images. My favorites are my clay stacks (sometimes called totems) – sculptures made up of up to 20 separate ceramic elements ranging from geometric shapes to human and animal figures. And I always enjoy making functional pieces – cups, bowls and platters – as a way to bring art to the everyday table.
My husband, Mark Smith, and I live in Port Republic, Maryland, where we also operate Foxtail Potters.