Deborah Britt
Deborah Britt Pottery
Lander, Wyoming





Artist Statement
My work mainly consists of salt-fired porcelain and stoneware. The salt-firing process is unique in that salt is introduced into the kiln when it reaches the proper temperature (2345°F for my work). Inside the kiln, the salt vaporizes and settles onto the pieces, forming its own glaze over the clay body. I also use various slips and glazes to further decorate the pots. I draw inspiration from many sources—nature, other artists I admire, and even current events. I love to experiment and play with form. You will see this both in my functional and sculptural work. In my functional work, my goal is to make the pieces “special”. I hope that everyday users will appreciate being “in the moment” as they sip from their handmade cup or enjoy soup from their favorite bowl. My sculptural pieces all have specific meaning for me, but sometimes are just fun! I don’t wish to impose my views of the work upon others, but would rather viewers lend their own interpretation to the pieces within their own contexts and ideas. Most importantly, I hope the sculptures will inspire viewers to pause and consider how the pieces relates to their lives.

Studio Description
My studio is private, a 900-square-foot structure a few feet from my home. It is in a rural setting, surrounded by ancient junipers and sagebrush, in the foothills of the Wind River Mountains. It is well equipped with a wheel, pug mill, slab roller, electric kiln, and a salt kiln just outside.

What type of clay do you use?
White stoneware

What temperature do you fire to?
Cone 10

What is your primary forming method?
Wheel throwing and handbuilding equally.

What is your favorite surface treatment?
Colored slips with some glaze decoration or sgrafitto.

Do you make any of your own tools?
A few. Custom dies for my extruder and hand-made stamps.

What one word would you use to describe your work?

What is your favorite thing about your studio?
The views are inspirational, and there is plenty of space to spread out when constructing larger pieces.

What is the one thing in your studio you can’t live without?
My work tables. I have four that were specially constructed by my father.

What are your top three studio wishes?
1. More time in the studio.
2. Speedier clean up.
3. Better climate control. (We have a very dry climate and one must work fast.)

What’s on your current reading list?
I just began a book on the life of Matisse.

How do you save money on materials and supplies?
I recycle clay in my pug mill. It is amazing how much clay can be reclaimed from trimmings, etc.

How do you recharge creatively?
Workshops (essential), travel, museums, hikes in nature, and communing with artistic friends

Do you have any DIY tips for studio efficiency?
Clean up before leaving the studio. Arriving to a dirty space with dirty tools can discourage creativity.

What challenges have you given yourself to overcome?
Keeping it fresh and experimenting with new forms. It is too easy to fall into the rut of re-making the same form again and again.

What did your first piece look like?
Probably a very clunky and off-center mug.

What ceramic superpower would you have and why?
I'd love to have the strength to wedge, center, and throw large amounts of clay in order to scale up some of my pieces.

What area of skill do you most look to other artists to learn?
Handbuilding and decorative ideas.

Who is your ceramic art mentor and why?
My ceramic professor, Jeri Au, immediately comes to mind. She taught me that perfection is great if it is an important element to the work that you are doing, but in some cases could detract from whatever idea you are attempting to express.

What is on your studio playlist?
Currently I am listening to an audiobook, Edward Rutherford's New York. It is historical fiction recounting the growth of the city of New York from its beginnings to the 1970s. It is both educational and entertaining!

Why do you create art?
Art is a way to express myself without explicitly imposing my views on others. I hope others will enjoy what I do without my being forced to alter my ideas to accommodate the consumer.

Who is your favorite artist and what do you admire about that artist?
Having just visited Arles and the sanatorium where Van Gogh was hospitalized for so long, I have come to appreciate him and his work anew. The struggle he experienced while trying to be accepted without compromising his ideas is inspirational.

What is your best studio tip?
Learn from your failures, and keep trying. Don't give up after the first attempt!

If you could change one property of clay, what would it be?
Its memory.

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