Marissa Childers, Oklahoma City, Oklahoma

Ceramics Monthly: What techniques do you use to make your work and why? 

Marissa Childers: I pull inspiration from things within domestic spaces such as old wallpaper, textiles, and smaller details that are often overlooked—like a worn seam on an ottoman. Things such as this stir up memories from a simpler time in my life.

When I begin a new piece, I make several small maquettes from paper templates to figure out the proportions of the form and how the pieces fit together. I have an entire library of texture slabs in my studio, each cast in plaster from clothing or an upholstery fabric. Once the templates have been enlarged, I roll my slabs onto the textured slabs to make clay “fabric” and then construct them similar to how one would use a sewing template. I try to think about how the clay would act if it were actually fabric, so I will often fray the edges, expose seams, and tear away sections of the texture. These details are usually so small that you must get close to notice them, and even then, some details aren’t discovered until someone is making that physical connection with the piece.  

1 Sweet Memories, 14 in. (36 cm) in height, stoneware, soda fired to cone 10 in reduction, luster, decals, fired to cone 018, 2022.

I currently fire all my work in a high-fire soda kiln. The surface is then decorated with a variety of floral decals influenced by the wallpaper and furniture that surrounded me growing up. I finish the pieces by adding small gold embellishments that directly reference jewelry from the women in my family. Through form and surface, I seek to elevate the domestic space by shining light on the smaller, intimate moments of connection we have with others as well as the details of everyday life that go unnoticed. 

CM: What roles do you think makers play within our current culture? How do you think you contribute to it?

MC: There is such a diverse range of makers that play so many different roles. Everyone has their own personal experiences they are pulling from. Some makers are fueled by what is happening in the world around them and use their work as a means to inform, while others tell stories or try to bring a sense of beauty and joy into our daily lives. 

2 A Little Touch of Home, 12 in. (30 cm) in length, stoneware, soda fired to cone 10 in reduction, luster, decals, fired to cone 018, flocking, 2021.

I believe most makers do have a common goal of facilitating a connection with others. You may have a connection with the artist who made the coffee mug you drink from, or a more physical connection with the mug itself. Other times, that connection is formed through common ideas and experiences. I hope that my work contributes by not only facilitating this sense of connection and community through the work I make, but also by creating a moment of pause. I think artists have an opportunity to invite people to slow down, get closer, and take notice. A pause can become something so intimate, as it draws us in and allows us a moment to reflect. 

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