Kate Marotz, Marshfield, Wisconsin
Ceramics Monthly: How do you come up with the forms and surfaces that are prevalent in your work?
Kate Marotz: I draw inspiration from a variety of organic forms including coral, trees, vertebrae, chrysalides, shells, stones, and seed pods. My pinched pots must be functional and capture the making process in their final surfaces. Seams, fingerprints, and folds in the clay increase the tactility of these objects while tension is created by handles compressing forms or the visual weight of one layer pressing down on another. The techniques I use ensure every piece is unique. Every vantage point shows the differences within each piece, inviting the user to investigate further. Some objects are rather tame, while others verge on precarious.
Modernism influences the final terra-sigillata surface that connects the interior to the exterior. Subtle wax-resist patterns are visible upon close inspection, while speckling is reminiscent of concrete or stone. I enjoy my forms and surfaces having many small variations between similar pieces, just like the organic forms that I draw inspiration from.
CM: What do you see as the current trends in ceramics and where do you see yourself in that field?
KM: I see atypical firing temperatures; custom stamps; and colored clay, slip, and terra sigillata as current trends in ceramics. I, like many others, fell in love with throwing on the potter’s wheel and the magic of glaze when I was first introduced to clay, but for a number of reasons made the transition to alternative handbuilding methods and surfaces. I am exploring a variety of mid-range firing temperatures to achieve an exterior surface that does not use traditional glazes. Terra sigillata has provided me with a solution to surfaces that make sense with the organic forms that I am making. I also use a dark clay body because I enjoy the additional depth that terra sigillata and an interior glaze gain when applied over it. Many potters choose to use an electric kiln, myself included, and therefore take on the challenge of creating surface depth and variation through creative means.