Jill Smith

jill_smith_hs I grew up making mud pies. As a child I was constantly creating masterpieces in my sandbox by day, and coloring “outside the lines” in my coloring books at night. Still “mud-minded,” I studied ceramics at the University of Puget Sound, graduated with a BFA, and later received a MFA from Whitworth College. In 1972, I established The Clay Fox Pottery, and happily became a studio potter with my hands in mud ever since! Raku fired pottery has been a love for the last 10 years.Rooted in the Zen philosophy of simplicity and a harmonious interaction between all things, raku to me is a coming together of clay, fire and soul. There is a letting go of control and an acceptance of what can spontaneously happen each time a raku piece is taken hot from the fire and given over to the flame in a barrel of newspaper. Besides raku, my current work has been an exploration of high fire stoneware tubes and vessels that catch and reflect my attachment to the natural world.Living by a stream and closer to the earth, I have found that Nature, my life long teacher. She has inspired me with the design of her leaves that, through my hands, start out so temporary and then are preserved for ever as impressions in clay.

“My claywork has always been about process, relationship and my surroundings. Taking the fluidity of clay in my hands and transforming it into lasting rigidity lets me take the feeling of place and give it a related connection in creative work. For me, the creative process that starts with a mental image which is then given physical form, must involve vision, challenge, resourceful materials and a sense of playfulness.

Clay and earth pigments through the ages have documented our own human development, told our story and connected us to where we live.

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