Thursday, July 11, 2013

Featured Artist: Susan Rodriguez of Ceramica Botanica

Today’s guest artist is Susan Rodriguez of Ceramica Botanica, who makes servingware with fun, retro patterns. Susan is from San Antonio, Texas, and she shares her background and techniques today. Be sure to also check out her etsy shop and facebook page.

mod patterns on ceramic plates

A: What’s your background?

S: I really came late to art. My first exposure was a basic design course in college. It was amazing, liberating, eye opening, and so fun. I was staying up all night working on projects. Then I continued taking art courses and received a BFA in ceramics.

tray and small bowl with flower design

A: What are your inspirations?

S: I love vintage textiles and architecture.

raindrop plate set with diamond pattern

A: How did you get started designing patterns?

S: I have always been attracted to patterns and had the instinct to include patterns in my work. With pottery there is always the form/ surface dilemma. You develop the skills to create a pleasing piece and then you must find the perfect way to treat the surface. The surface treatment will make or break the piece. It took many years of experimenting for me to get to my current stenciling technique.

set of three dishes

A: How does your medium influence your work?

S: Working on a three-dimensional object can be tricky, but it is also a jumping off point. I love seeing how the scale or shape of the image can alter the look of the end piece.

raindrop bowl

A: Can you please describe your work process?

S: I no longer do sketching, instead I grab paper and my scissor and start cutting. It feels like drawing but with scissors. I make all my pottery by hand building. I roll out slabs of clay and build with the slabs or use slump molds to form the pieces. The surface are made by taking the paper shapes I have cut, arranging and securing them onto the unfired bowl /platter. Next I paint 3-4 layers of underglazes or stains. After letting the underglaze/stain to dry I can peel off the paper stencils to reveal the pattern. The pieces must then be fired in a kiln two times at 2000 degrees.

using magazine cutouts to mask shapes before glazing bowl

A: What are your essential tools?

S: Scissor, junk mail, catalogues for paper and my kiln.

tools of the trade: scissors and magazines

A: Thanks for sharing! It’s really fascinating to see the works in the unfinished state.

I’ve collected a bit of Susan’s work at various craft fairs, and I love using it for parties. It’s so fun and colorful! Here’s my collection.

ceramicware used as a party setting