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Artist: Catherine Boswell

Catherine Boswell
Catherine Boswell, FLORIDA
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As a child my head was always in the clouds, but Life happens in the body,
despite the mind’s convincing insistence otherwise. That’s why clay has always
had such a strong pull, calling to me, “Here! Life happens here! In the mud!”
Cups recently unveiled from layers and weeks of plastic bore out this basic,
potent truth; sprouting from the side of one was a perky seedling, its first two
leaves stretched out like little arms, celebrating the righteous victory of birth,
declaring, “Here I am!”
Giving birth sixteen years ago was my first real discovery that life happens in the
body and how empowering intense pain can be. It’s astounding what these
bodies are made for, what they can endure, and what they can create. The
second was in the awakening of my kundalini, a physically intense experience
that took my breath away. Kundalini is dormant energy coiled like a snake at the
base of the spine. When it suddenly awakened, it exploded like a rocket up my
spine, inducing a profoundly spiritual, physical experience. As a tornado blew
past the back of my house and took down an oak tree, I experienced complete
bliss, orgasms with the Divine—“We are One! And Wow! This nervous system is
amazing!” A delightful vacation before the agonizing minutes, weeks, and months of personal deconstruction that would ensue—“Wow! I was built to endure this?!”
Life most definitely happens in the body.
My work has been a slow but steady exploration of Love, longing, and coming
home to myself after decades of disconnection, and I suspect this is the human
experience. The snake has been my fairly recent companion on this journey, but
long before I recognized her kundalini clues. The snake is an expression of
primal Desire—not the wanting that would like a new pair of shoes or a nicer
house, but that drive that is the energy of Life, itself, and declares, “I am! I am
alive!” Coming home to my senses has been to discover, and allow for, the
pleasures and pains of the heart, which are as immense as the sky and as deep
as the sea. It’s a daily practice of courage and relentlessly compassionate self-
reflection. I leave notes for myself, reminders for when the going gets tough and
amnesia threatens to kick in: I am loved, I love, I am Love—this is the real power
of the mind, to choose in every moment what I believe, and what I believe is
worth pursuing. Creating objects that are meant to hold what sustains us, and be held by our hands and knees and touched by our lips, is to affirm life.
We are love, we are love, we are love.I have studied ceramics at the University of Florida and with individual potters in England, Wales and Switzerland.  
I am inspired by the irregularity inherent in handwork--in the design and stitching of hand-printed Indian textiles or the surface of beaten metal. It’s what gives life to an object and expresses the vulnerable, transitory nature of life. This fuels my work and I use a variety of forming and decorating methods to capture this quality. After working with porcelain for many years, I have moved to using terracotta, whose rich deep color I love. A thin white slip poured over a textured or pinched surface allows the red clay beneath to come through as a blush and, using a method called sgraffito, I draw through the layer of slip to form patterns and landscapes in an effort to capture the irregularity that I love so much. My work has become my garden, a place where memories of my early childhood in coastal Florida and time spent abroad are distilled. A thin dark line describes the scrolled ironwork enclosing an English square, a snake flows like water, and a flower in bloom speaks of a place thick with wildflowers, blackberries and prickling burrs. I want my work to appeal in a visceral, familiar way, ultimately finding a life of its own in another’s hands.
I mix my own glazes, which are all lead-free and food safe. My pottery is dishwasher safe, though handwashing is gentler and will give it a longer life.

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