Local Color
Contemporary Art Gallery
Fredericksburg, Texas

Carolyn De Bus


The beauty of ceramics lies in the combining of shape, design and glaze of a vessel.  If the shape is lacking, no amount of fancy design or glaze work will pull the vessel out of the mundane.  There needs  to be a tension in the curves, a strength to hold everything else together.  Once that has been realized, the design work is pure pleasure.

The design work is an eclectic combination of folk art from around the world.  I have always been interested in folk art.  In Milwaukee, where I grew up, there is a large folk fair which I went to yearly.  The colors and intricate work in embroidery, paper cutting, ceramics and painting were fascinating to me.  As a graduate student at Southern Methodist University, I was introduced to the art work of American Indian and African.  The American Indian work uses a beautiful awareness of positive/negative spacing.  The African dance masks use white dots to reticulate the surface and make them dance.  Mexican ceramic work also uses dots and dashes to enliven the background surface area.  These decorative ideas were mixed well with the beauty of shape found in the Oriental ceramic tradition.  A kindred spirit had been found in the Australian Aboriginal art but it was not known before this work was started.

All the work is earthenware, which has been decorated with slip, a material half way between clay and glaze.  The decoration has been fired onto the piece at around 1900º.  The brushwork is applied first and is done spontaneously.  The dot work is done slowly and methodically, one dot at a time.  It is the combination of the fast and slow that puts a tension in the design work. In the work I call maze design, the dots are built up and create the design as it progresses.  The dots suggest a shape and the opposite side of the shape is then applied.  The design just grows as more dots are placed on the pot.

I chose not to glaze the pots.  The warmth of the clay is an important aspect to me and glaze has a tendency to hide that.

The photographs shown here are by no means a comprehensive inventory of the works we currently have for sale by this artist. They are meant merely as a representative cross-section of this artist's creations. Also, not all pieces shown here are necessarily still available. Each piece is an original one-of-a-kind artwork. Once it is sold, it is gone for good. If you are interested in more information about this particular artist and the works we currently have available, please Contact Us.

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