Genie Sue Weppner
I was an Anthropology major in college and my studies exposed me to the fine craftsmanship of early civilizations. Vessels made in early civilizations were created to sustain the spiritual and fulfill the utilitarian needs of their lives. I admired the earthy beauty of their wood and dung-fired ware. When studying ceramics in graduate school (roughly 50 years ago), I researched and attempted to replicate these early artisans' techniques. The use of terra sigillata had not been explored by ceramicists and was primarily documented by anthropologists’ observations and discussions with key informants. I poured over anthropological accounts of the techniques and tools being used by early artisans and developed formulas, tools, and firing methods in my attempt to replicate the techniques. My resulting MFA thesis show was made up entirely of burnished, Raku, and sawdust-fired pottery. Today, ceramists have eclipsed my early research and many new tools and tricks have been developed to make the use of terra sigillata very common. I am still experimenting and have moved on to explore what I can do with Raku, and this body of work reflects that experimentation.
My studio was originally a small metal garage storage shed. I added windows and replaced the garage door with a regular door. Two Lean-Too structures are attached which hold my kilns and Raku kiln. They also double as a "show room" which means I have to regularly clean out the dust and insects that gather.
What type of clay do you use?
WSO and Bmix
What temperature do you fire to?
Cone 010-06 and cone 6
What is your primary forming method?
Both slab and wheel
What is your favorite surface treatment?
Textured embossed surfaces
Do you make any of your own tools?
Yes, I use craft foam to draw my images and press the resulting lines into the clay with a slab roller to create my surface designs.
What one word would you use to describe your work?
What is your favorite thing about your studio?
It is close to my house.
What is the one thing in your studio you can’t live without?
What are your top three studio wishes?
Bigger, cleaner, and brighter
What’s on your current reading list?
Heather Cox Richardson and all the banned books
How do you save money on materials and supplies?
Recycle clay, save all my 5-gallon paint buckets
How do you recharge creatively?
Do you have any DIY tips for studio efficiency?
What challenges have you given yourself to overcome?
Showing up everyday to make something new.
What did your first piece look like?
Are you kidding!
What ceramic superpower would you have and why?
What area of skill do you most look to other artists to learn?
Who is your ceramic art mentor and why?
Teri Axnes for her amazing knowledge of glazing and repair. Irv Dixon for his patience and kiln-building expertise. Kevin Flynn who came to fix my kiln after I retired, and he complemented my work....I've loved him ever since.
What is on your studio playlist?
Why do you create art?
I have to be doing something productive with my hands.
Who is your favorite artist and what do you admire about that artist?
Irv Dixon and his incredible Salt Ware
What is your best studio tip?
Using craft foam to make your images. I do not like to draw. By using craft foam, I only have to draw something once, and then I can use it over and over again.
If you could change one property of clay, what would it be?
Not one thing.