Susan Harris

My ceramic work evolves from my long-held fascination with artifacts from the past, most notably ancient oriental and Etruscan bronze ritual vessels. I am preoccupied with the mysterious purposes, intricate surface details and mythological symbols, which characterize these objects. Using clay instead of metal, not to mention a contemporary rather than ancient temperament, I challenge myself to re-interpret their forms and meanings.

Recent work references techniques and forms I have explored for the past several years in a process called reduction cooling, where no glaze is applied to the external surface of the works in order to retain crisp and intricate textural details. The appearance is reminiscent of wrought iron. It has been a logical step for me to investigate similar forms with greater functional intent, and to finish them with the addition of color and pattern resulting from atmospheric firings in salt, soda and wood-fired kilns.

I enjoy the fact that my pieces do not speak of this time and place in history, but could exist any time in the past or future as well.