Kate began working in clay 30 years ago at the local community art center in Middlebury, VT. She went on to combine her academic studies of Spanish and Anthropology during a year abroad in Lima, Peru where she worked under José Luis Yamunaqué and studied the changing dynamic of traditional ceramic production in his native Chulucanas, Piura (1988-89). Kate went on to study with Tony Hepburn at Cranbrook Academy of Art where she received her MFA in 1995.
She has continued to explore her interest in other cultures, participating in residencies at the Shigaraki Ceramic Cultural Park in Japan (1996) and in Aix en Provence (2005-06) and Paris, France (2011-12). She is currently a lecturer at the Penny Stamps School of Art and Design at the University of Michigan. Kate maintains a home studio in Ann Arbor and shows her work in galleries and fine art and craft shows nationally. Her work is in the permanent collection of the Shigaraki Ceramic Cultural Park and the Peruvian North American Cultural Institute in Lima, Peru.
Whether working in mixed media sculpture forming the clay around plaster casts of my body or piercing the thin walls of a functional porcelain vessel, my work has always been linked to the idea of the vessel or containment. My interest in the vessel is rooted in its relationship to the body from the breath or volume that I slowly give the form as I pound the stiff clay between my paddle and rock to the burnished skin like surface that the clay takes on as I work the piece. Working with clay is not really a choice for me, but more of a need or compulsion. Its tactile qualities are seductive and getting dirty is important.
I have always liked the connection to the history of makers that ceramics affords. Pot making is a democratic endeavor. Pots are accessible. They create connections for me as they become part of the fabric of people's lives. I am interested in making forms that seek to be caressed and used whether its raising the cup to one's lips, arranging flowers in a vase or sharing espresso with a friend. My fascination with forms in nature and the everyday quotidian nature of pottery provides me with the inspiration for a quiet meditation on the beauty in simple things.
Attempting to deconstruct the thin walls of the clay in its most fragile state is for me, a metaphor for life’s work. I’m trying to capture that fleeting moment of beauty before the piece crumbles in my hands and preserve it even if just for a time, in a slightly less vulnerable fired state. The essence of this beauty is its tenuousness, like the flower, glorious, yet shadowed by the knowledge of its eventual death.
Curriculum Vitae (click to download)