JANUARY ARTIST OF THE MONTH- TARA UNDERWOOD
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01/05/2017
By Toni Tronu
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JANUARY | ARTIST OF THE MONTH | TARA UNDERWOOD

 

ABOUT THE ARTIST 

Tara began working with clay twelve years ago in a community studio in Nashville, Tennessee. Her artistic education includes a B.F.A. in ceramics from Guilford College, membership in several artist cooperatives around the Southeast, and an apprenticeship with artist, Akira Satake. She currently lives and works as a potter in Asheville, North Carolina. When she isn't working in the studio, Tara loves to dance, hike, swim, and write.

ARTIST STATEMENT 

As a five or six year old, in the summertime of the South, the neighbor kids and I began digging up rocky, impure clay from our backyards and pinching it into vessels. We dried our wares on a big boulder in the sun, used acrylic paints to decorate them with childish designs, and peddled them around the neighborhood in a red wagon. 

We didn’t understand the concept of a vessel. No grown-ups had instructed us in this backyard project. It came about intuitively; perhaps instinctively. 

I find it absolutely fascinating that pottery and vessel-making arise so naturally out of the human experience, as if coded in our DNA. For me, the exploration of the ceramic vessel is not only instinctual, but compulsive; I just can’t shake the desire to make pots. As a potter, I like to approach my work from that unapologetic place of presence and intuition that my six-year-old self once inhabited, resulting in work that is playful and honest.

 

PRODUCT AND PROCESS 

All of my pots are made by hand from an earthenware clay which fires (at 2,134 degrees Fahrenheit) to a beautiful, deep red. I use a combination of pinching, slab-building, wheel-throwing, and press-mold techniques to make the forms, and decorate with glazes, colored slips and terra sigillata to achieve their unique surfaces. 

My functional earthenware is made to survive everyday use (i.e. the dishwasher, microwave, picnicking, mobile tea parties, etc.). I would like nothing better than for my pots to become fixtures in your home, to facilitate your daily rituals, and perhaps share in your transcendent moments.