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Kathy Swan

I received a BA in English Literature with a Minor in Art from James Madison University. Since then, I have continuously studied ceramics and other art fields with classes in Virginia at Creative Clay and the Torpedo Factory, and in Maryland at Hood College, Baltimore Clayworks, and Columbia Art Center.

I use stoneware clay bodies fired using an electric, gas, or wood kiln. All of the glazes I use are food safe, and all pieces can be used in a microwave or dishwasher as well.

My work is largely both functional and aesthetic. One of my goals is to create pieces that can handle use every day, and yet feel special and unique. Today, most of us lead busy lives with little time for relaxation or reflection. Our world has become a much smaller place due to the ease with which information and products from far flung locations can reach us. I believe it is important to retain a sense of thoughtfulness in our lives, remembering to enrich our physical and emotional selves with sensory experiences that may fall by the wayside in favor of convenience. I hope that my pottery can bring a moment of thoughtfulness into people’s lives, giving them an opportunity to touch and use and look upon something made entirely by hand, made not just to fill a role but to enhance it as well.

 Native plants of the eastern United States have long been one of my major interests. I am buoyed each year as I see the spring ephemerals reemerge, peeking through the fallen leaves in my yard or along the side of a trail. As a former teacher, I still have an interest in sharing knowledge with others. I bring focus to these small but beautiful plants that others may not notice through use of low relief and carving, as well as painting images with slip, underglaze and oxides on my pottery.  I hope to raise people’s awareness of and respect for the natural world around them with my work.

I don't feel that I am ever going to be done learning.  Although I have been making pottery off and on for about ten years, there is an almost infinite amount of skill and information out there about the clay process that would take much longer than my lifetime to learn.  

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