Susan DeMay

Susan DeMay on her new slab constructions:

"My attraction to many architectural features was nurtured by my year’s stay in Europe some decades ago.  I visited innumerable cathedrals, museums, and castles, viewing them not only from the outside, but also exploring them within. The towers, rotundas, silos and pyramidal elements which are a part of that architecture – and, now in my everyday life -- grab my attention as unique geometric structures, beyond the usual the cube and box found in most architecture.

I have worked with slab-based clay constructions for many years, but only recently have really concentrated on developing unusual sculptural vessels using this forming process. Working clay on the wheel has had limitations for me and also feels too much like a production job for me.

In addition to my love of older architectural models, including ruins, I also find the buildings of Frank Gehry and Daniel Libeskind inform my new works. The curvilinear shapes are dramatic and unique. Collaborations with local artist, Edward Belbusti, encouraged me to keep working with clay in this way. Abstract structures such as these form the basis for my new work.

However, large scale does not play an important role in my ceramic pieces. I still feel closely connected to the work of clay vessels and to the function of a piece of pottery; imaginative usefulness is still implied in the new works. 

These new works remain on this human scale partly by the addition of embellishments that are considered carefully for not only their contribution to the overall composition but also for their symbolic potential. While some handles and lids are very abstract, some are “steampunk” in nature.  In object making, this interesting genre incorporates mechanical and technological elements.  In this way the nature of “how things work” is a large part of being a craft artist.  In order to do crafted work, many tools and pieces of equipment are required for all steps of the process. Textures from these and other mechanical found objects have recently been included in the surface enrichment of my new works, a design device one can see in my older works."