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Patricia Sannitt

All of my ceramic pieces are hand-built from white stoneware. Each piece is slowly built by pinching and paddling coils and slabs of clay, then when complete, painted with a slip of terra-sigilata. When the piece is leather-hard, I rub it smooth, then begin the process of incising the marks and lines and finally carve the surface. After drying, the piece is bisque-fired to cone four. To complete the piece, I was it with an oxide stain, paint on a nontoxic satin finish glaze and refire it.

I have been working in clay nearly my entire life. I took a progression of ceramic classes through childhood, but it was not until I started studying ceramics as an exchange student at an art college in Norway that I began to find an identity as a clay artist. After returning to the United States, I had the good fortune to study with Warren Mackenzie, a hugely important figure in American functional ceramics. From Warren I learned a respect for the integrity of materials, a pride in craftsmanship, and an opportunity to do archeological work in the Near East, allowing me to pursue a long abiding interest in pre-history. Working on an excavation and handling ancient pot shards changed the way I though about my work. I moved to the San Francisco Bay Area to get my M.F.A. at the California College of Arts and Crafts. I was a student of Viola Frey. With Viola I began to explore the figure in clay and in drawing. Since then I have continued to work in different media, and pursued both functional and sculptural ceramics. I find that I benefit from the transfer of visual information from one material and discipline to the other. Most recently, my family and I have moved to Arizona, which is proving to be a wonderful working environment.

I have had the good fortune to continue to work on early human excavations and for me, the making of pots, which has such a deep history, is the most satisfying expression of my connectedness with others and our common past.

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Patricia Sannit, Cradle (back view), 9"x 12"x 14", Carved, incised stoneware, 2012

Click on the image above for a high-resolution version of this picture.

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