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Sherryl Schmidt Lutz

Clay / Folsom, LA / Master Craftsman

Artist Statement

thrown. I believe that pottery is an inherently inclusive art.

Biography

I make pots. I like using my hands to find their familiar shapes in the clay,
and I enjoy thinking about how many generations of people have done
this work before me. I like the aesthetics of pots, both the well-worn forms
of traditional ware, and the look and feel of my own experiments.

I can't remember a time when I wasn't excited about art. As a child,
I colored in my coloring books with the seriousness of any adult
artist. My grandmother introduced me to clay. She worked at
St. Vincent DePaul's mental institution in New Orleans, teaching
ceramics. She used to make clay magnolias by hand,and she taught
me the whole process, from rolling out the clay to forming the petals.
It was then that my artist interest began. My parents were always
supportive of my interest, never discouragining me from what
proved to be a long road on a journey with many detours.

I have two fine art degrees, a BA from Nicholls State university in
Thibodaux, Louisiana (1978), and a MFA from Washington State University (1980),
both in ceramic sculpture. My sculptural training has proved to be very relevant
to my work. It enriches my life as a potter by allowing me to appreciate the beauty
of traditional pottery forms, which I believe have become traditionalprecisely
because people have always found them beautiful. This appreciation of the traditional
has not extinguished my need to make those 'individual' pieces, though.

My pottery business was started after a move to Long Beach, Mississippi. One of the
things I loved about being so close to the Gulf was the range of interesting forms
I found there, especially of shore and marine animals. It was there that I developed
my habit (which I still often use today, although I no longer live near the sea)of
including forms of crustaceans in my pieces. Another source of inspiration has been
pottery produced around the turn of the century in the United States, including Newcomb,
Roseville, and Rookwood Potteries. I find their use of form and color inspiring,
and I draw on these two elements in many of my individual pieces. I've never been afraid
to incorporate new forms, materials, colors, or influences into my pottery. In fact,
I believe that pottery is an inherently inclusive art. For me, no other art or craft has
such potential for mixing the functional and the artistic, the earthy and the spiritual.