Potter Spotlight, by Jane Gilstad August 23, 2016 17:33


Welcome to our new website column by Jane Gilstad. Like artists everywhere our students, potters, and artists are a varied group of individuals. Pottery, a universal and ancient art dating back thousands of years,  is still enjoyed many and for many different reasons. We are proud that our studio caters to members, adults, and young students to help them discover, explore, experiment and create in clay. Check back often, as we will be highlighting different people, their work and their thoughts on the art of pottery and ceramic sculpture.

HARRIET MACKIE, City Clay Potter (above in baseball cap)

Harriet studied art at the University of Texas, in Austin and in New Mexico. As well as being a potter she is a seamstress, a weaver, and a jeweler. She started to work on pottery during her university days when blending jewelry and pottery to make necklaces, earrings and vases with hanging beads. That was a while ago.

It’s mostly wheel now, but Harriet has an extensive background in hand building and sculpture. Her true preference is the wheel as she enjoys the tactile feel of clay and the freedom to alter shapes fluidly on the wheel. She is drawn to a “southwest” color range and seems to favor the dark reds these days. Harriet is currently working with underglaze on her works and feels the combination of wheel and underglaze allows for the most shape and color alteration. She feels these two methods afford her the greatest artistic freedom and expression.

Our potter lives in Charlottesville where she met Randy Bill when City Clay was still in the old space. Randy told Harriet about the studio and Harriet visited. She has been with City Clay ever since where she has attended several workshops and classes. She is often seen at the studio where she is currently a member renting studio space.

Harriet enjoys the meditative focus of painting her pieces. It is very helpful for escape. She believes that it is a great way for her to find her inner peace. She has plans of working on tiles that would come into their own as a picture and decorate each tile individually.

Her advice is to explore all pottery options and don’t limit yourself to one avenue of expression until you have a good foundation of all the options and techniques.

When Harriet can’t be found at work or the studio you will find her at the local flea markets where she sells her pottery and jewelry.