Paula Shalan

My work is hand built with white earthenware clay using a combination of pinch, coil, and slab techniques. The textures are created by repeated mark making, using such “tools” as a serrated steak knife or the circular end of a bamboo paint brush. The smooth shiny surface is achieved by scraping and sanding the bone dry clay, painting four coats of terrasigilatta (a refined clay slip), and carefully polishing the piece. After firing in wood shavings, a final coat of wax is applied, and the pot is polished once again.

I am informed by the numerous details of line, color, form, and texture that I see in nature. In addition, I gain aesthetic and sense-based information from observing the daily and ritual objects of ancient cultures.

The visual images that I absorb are translated to the language of clay. The tactile process of building with malleable clay, that records even the minutest impression, involves a constant dialog between me and the material. The fluidity and intimacy of this conversation is, hopefully, captured in the finished piece.