Statement about this Series
Over the past few years and into 2021 our country has experienced groundswells of change from social and environmental justice movements that have arisen and helped us more collectively reconcile with difficult truths. The pandemic has brought about a new sense of vulnerability and fragility but has also been a catalyst for considering new possibilities in the way we organize as a society. At times it has felt like teetering on the edge of chaos and collapse and at times like a wave of transformation into something stronger, more just, more inclusive and more aware. In this series I’m trying to capture these complexities with a feeling of transfiguration and a motion of rising. I encourage the clay to crack by stretching it around the curves of wheel-thrown vessels. I then carve it to the point of collapse and high-fire it. The high temperature of the kiln can cause the clay to warp and twist but also strengthens it while creating an atmosphere in which the glazes mix and crystallize. Trying to integrate these awkward or difficult aspects of working with clay into my studio practice has provided inspiration and helped me embrace change as a threshold of possibility. This approach has provided a sense of grace and comfort for me spiritually as well as hope for our collective future.
I've learned so much while making this series, shown here are just 5 of the over 50 sculptures I made with the support of an Artist Initiative Grant from the MN State Arts Board. I've refined my process so much, made so many discoveries - many born out of mistakes, and come to a deeper understanding about what I am communicating both through what I make and how I share knowledge as a teacher. Following my passion for clay has been an incredible adventure of discovery and connection and I’m very grateful to our state for encouraging innovation in the arts through this program.
Thank you Gichigami, Lake Superior for your inspiring beauty, abundance and grace. 15% of all sales from this series will benefit Honor the Earth, for their urgent work in protecting our water.
Ashley Hise is a fiscal year 2020 recipient of an Artist Initiative grant from the Minnesota State Arts Board. This activity is made possible by the voters of Minnesota through a grant from the Minnesota State Arts Board, thanks to a legislative appropriation by the Minnesota State Legislature; and by a grant from the National Endowment for the Arts
I will be teaching a workshop at the MacRostie Art Center in Grand Rapids, MN related to this series - all levels welcome!!