Patricia Saling

Saling_profile.jpg

I love playing with clay.  Introduced to ceramics in 2005 once I retired from a 30 year science career, I still feel quite new to this medium, as I do to all of the arts.  The tactile nature of working with clay – forming a useful object from a lump of mud – enthralled me at first touch, and continues to intrigue and charm me.  

My approach to the visual world has certainly changed with my interest in ceramics.  I’ve become a keen observer of nature’s forms, carrying a sketchbook everywhere.    While still aiming for more refinement in my pieces, I have gained enough confidence to experiment with shape and glazes, and it is exciting. Honestly, six decades along and I’ve only just discovered that the right side of my brain functions!  I’m striving to define my “style” and, while not there yet, I’m coming to grips with some of the elements: clean lines, classic shapes, subtle alterations.  Some of my most rewarding ‘experiments’ so far have dealt with glazes and glazing.  I prefer to spray on my glazes since I feel in greater control of the process; in addition, spraying allows me to layer glazes in an intentional way to develop a rich, varied surface.

The motivating concern for all of my pieces is that they be used. But the consequence of utility in a piece is that any design element must work into the piece’s function – does the handle fit the piece as well as the hand? Is the vessel’s size appropriate for the intended function? How does the piece feel to hold?  How will it look on the table?  I derive great joy in making an object that might find its way from my hands into someone’s home, a piece that could bring some small delight, a piece that might assist in making a home.  Continuing a millennia-old tradition is, at once, inspiring and comforting; it’s miraculous to me that I find myself so engaged.