Artist: Beth Lambert
Beth Lambert, ARKANSAS
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Beth Lambert is a studio potter living in central Arkansas and she specializes in both functional and decorative ceramics in earthenware, stoneware and porcelain. She also teaches clay classes for adults at the Arkansas Arts Center.
Statement: I became interested in terra cotta as a way of playing with clay again after working with very serious functional stoneware and porcelain. Working with terra cotta felt freer somehow, like a vacation. During this vacation, I started explorations in colored terra sigillatas, which opened spectral doors previously forbidden.
A slab-built hollow avian form developed from this darkness. I liked that every part of it was hollow, and I liked using very thin slabs. It became a dare to see how light and thin I could make them. One day, I realized they were so light they would float. This was very exciting to me, even though there was no logic to it. Who wants ceramic objects that float? But it took them in a different direction. Impressed markings started to suggest stars and maps and the idea of floating in the sky, and then I realized they didn't need wings.
In this mythology, we have noted the appearance of a fantastic new creature that has been far away and brought back to us in new constellations of mysterious significance. These birds have evolved without wings to move simply between dimensions; migratory patterns innate to the species become part of the plumage.
Each color of terra sigillata on the birds is mixed from several different colors to give the colors a subtle depth. I don't keep the recipes. When my supply of that color is exhausted, I formulate new ones. I enjoy this alchemical aspect of creation.