Arkansas Arts Center Resident Artist Ashley Morrison seeks to balance the functional and decorative in her work, and draws inspiration from everyday traditional objects as well as the Art Nouveau movement that sought to raise the status of craft.
When asked about her choice of color in her work, she says, “I’m drawn to natural tones, like the color of clay itself. You get different sounds from colors, a snowy day or cherry blossoms, those are calm, earthy, and phenomenal tones that inspire my work.”
Patrons of the Arts Center will be able to see Ashley’s work up close in the exhibition A Humble Hum: Rhythm of the Potter’s Wheel, on view in the Museum School Gallery through June 21, 2015.
Ashley was pursuing a degree in painting from the Kansas City Art Institute when she took a course in ceramics. She then changed her major and completed a BFA in ceramics at Kansas City Art Institute. She arrived at the Arkansas Arts Center in September of this year as a teaching artist in ceramics.
“I like to explore, and I also like to experiment with more than one approach to how I make my work. There are a million ways to approach clay; it’s endless, so I like to teach a variety of methods, because every student that goes along with the task of working with clay varies.”
When asked what skills someone would need to take a pottery class at the Arts Center, Ashley laughs, “You need to have a lot of patience, a curiosity about the material, and no shame for failure. There is a logic and a science to it, like cooking. Sometimes I think potters are like really great cooks.”
See more of Ashley’s work at http://cargocollective.com/ashleymorrison.
There is a timelessness surrounding clay and its utility. I am intrigued by how this material represents our past, and how its content evolves and changes between each generation through its analogy and context. For me, as an artist who uses clay, I am drawn to the structure, labor, and discipline it takes to work with clay. While my work does not focus on my ethnicity, there is an unconscious expression of how I view a variety of past and present cultures, including Islamic, Song, and Koryo Dynasty ceramics. I am also influenced by the design and philosophy of Art Nouveau. At my best, I attempt to create uniquely unfamiliar functional ware, which evokes a sense of mystery, while simultaneously exploring issues of ornamentation and beauty. I find pleasure in altering traditional objects and distorting ideas of function to suit my own aesthetic sensibility.
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