From the clay we were born, into clay we return afterwards; from this we discover the assertion that the first man was made of clay and that all others were hence born in fire. Clay transformed into art is a process as ancient as art itself, always touching our ancestral strings.
The products of the wood firing kiln are always unpredictable to some degree, a newborn child. Peter Callas, considered to be one of America's premier masters of anagama, represents this creative volatility perfectly. His creatures combine high expressionism with naturally made texture. We are led to the desire to touch raw surfaces in order to penetrate their deeper messages.
The innovative clay figures by Chrissy Callas emerge from the same kiln within which Peter's pieces came to life. In all possibility they may have originally occupied recesses inside of Peter's larger sculptures, thus embracing an entirely different view of the world, depicting new philosophical as well as humorous meanings.
Wendy Holcomb uses a two-stage firing process which allows her to produce minute details in her surrealistic human-like creatures, and her week-long high firings produce unpredictably mysterious color, texture, and the magical transformations made possible by this ancient process.
Susan Puleo’s masks and faces have never been touched fire. Having being dried by air, they breathe and change over time like living entities. The nature of the material shows itself: cracks, spots, the elements which in combination with elegant drawing and sculpting makes her works real masterpieces.
Birth of Shape, is one of four different groups of exhibitions developed for the conference, titled From the Community (the other groups being NCECA exhibitions, The Clay Studio exhibitions, and Concurrent Independent Exhibitions.) From the Community is a group of exhibitions developed in support of the 44th NCECA Conference by individual artists, groups of artists, commercial galleries, non-profit and alternative spaces, colleges and universities. The exhibitions celebrate the work of professionals, aspiring professionals, and students.