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Artist: Elizabeth Paley

Elizabeth Paley
Elizabeth Paley, NORTH CAROLINA
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A life-long pianist, I find working with clay similar to practicing a musical instrument: both processes invite one to develop attention to form and detail, to balance technique with improvisation, and to discover a personal creative voice. Alongside music, my background in science and math informs my art. Physics governs the relationships between my forms and surfaces. I cut or swipe patterns into slipped cylinders; these expand into captivating organic designs as I stretch the pots from the inside. Friction torques vertical lines into spirals, parallel swooshes drift apart or scrunch together, and coarse canyons emerge between smooth-slipped plateaus. The transformations are different every time, functions of variables both within and beyond my control: initial patterns, depths of cuts, slopes of curves, plasticity of clay bodies, magnitude of expansion, directional spin of the wheel. Occasionally, fortuitous scars appear: an un-wedged air bubble pops and flattens to hug the pot’s surface, or a narrow fault line cracks open as the clay stretches to its limits. I enjoy how this rough evidence of material and process juxtaposes with well-practiced symmetry.

Ph.D. Music Theory, minor Linguistics, University of Wisconsin, Madison, 1998
B.M. Piano Performance, summa cum laude, University of Arizona, Tucson, 1991
M.S. Astronomy, University of Arizona, Tucson, 1989
B.S. Physics, summa cum laude, University of Illinois, Urbana, 1987
Ceramics classes taken at the Durham Arts Council, Claymakers, and Penland School of Crafts.
Workshops taken with Alan Bennett, John Britt, Leonora Coleman, Susan Feagin, Marty Fielding, Denny Gerwin,
Jamie Kirkpatrick, Jim Lawton, Vince Pitelka, Deborah Schwartzkopf, Gay Smith, and Carolyn Wyland.

Independent Studio Artist, 2010-present
Instructor, Claymakers, Durham, NC, 2007-present

Claymakers, Circle of Influence, two-person show, Durham, NC, January 17-March 14, 2020
Carol Woods Retirement Community, solo 3D show, Chapel Hill, NC, April 13-May 18, 2018

ClayAKAR, Yunomi Invitational 2020, Iowa City, IA, June 12-June 26, 2020
Cedar Creek Gallery, National Teapot Show XI, Creedmoor, NC, May 16-September 7, 2020
Charlie Cummings Gallery, Exquisite Forms II, Gainesville, FL, February 22-March 20, 2020
Charlie Cummings Gallery, Cup: The Intimate Object XV, Gainesville, FL, October 1-November 1, 2019
Claymakers, Steinfest 2019, Durham, NC, September 27-November 10, 2019
Charlie Cummings Gallery, Cup: The Intimate Object XIV, Gainesville, FL, October 6-November 20, 2018
Claymakers, Steinfest 2018, Durham, NC, September 27-November 10, 2018
Charlie Cummings Gallery, Exquisite Forms, online, February 17-March 16, 2018
Cedar Creek Gallery, CUPful, Creedmoor, NC, January 13-February 26, 2018
Greenhill Center for NC Art, Winter Show 2017, Greensboro, NC, December 3, 2017-January 13, 2018
Charlie Cummings Gallery, Cup: The Intimate Object XIII, online, October 7-November 3, 2017
Claymakers, Steinfest 2017, Durham, NC, September 29-November 11, 2017
Cedar Creek Gallery, National Teapot Show X, Creedmoor, NC, May 19-September 5, 2017
FRANK Gallery, Pots from the Piedmont, Chapel Hill, NC, October 9-November 30, 2016
Claymakers, Steinfest 2016, Durham, NC, September 30-November 14, 2016
Cedar Creek Gallery, CUPful, Creedmoor, NC, January 9-February 21, 2016
Perkinson Art Gallery, Millikin University, Just Use It, Decatur, IL, December 1-10, 2015
Cinema Gallery, Use It: A Show of Functional Ceramics, Urbana, IL, June 21-August 29, 2015
Claymakers, Steinfest 2015, Durham, NC, September 25-November 15, 2015
Mathematics of Science, Art, Industry, and Culture (www.mosaicmathart.org), traveling exhibit, June 2014-
September 2016
Claymakers, Steinfest 2014, Durham, NC, October 3-November 21, 2014
Baltimore Clayworks, Southern Hospitality, Baltimore, MD, 11 January-22 February 2014
Claymakers, Steinzeugkrug: Present Day Interpretations, Durham, NC, October 4-November 16, 2013
Claymakers, Line and Rhythm, Durham, NC, November 16, 2012-January 12, 2013
Cinema Gallery, All Steamed Up Invitational Teapot Show, Urbana, IL, December 3, 2011-January 21, 2012
Claymakers, Season of Lights, Durham, NC, November 18, 2011-January 14, 2012

Mathematical Art Exhibition, 2019 Joint Mathematics Meetings, Baltimore, MD, January 16-19, 2019
25th Strictly Functional Pottery National, Lancaster, PA, September 16-October 21, 2017
Plough Gallery, Tea: The Ritual and the Art, Tifton, GA, April 15-June 1, 2017

Charlie Cummings Gallery, Cup: The Intimate Object XII, online, October 1-November 4, 2016
24th Strictly Functional Pottery National, Lancaster, PA, September 17-October 22, 2016
Claymakers, Claybody: The Human Form in Ceramic Art, Durham, NC, March 18-May 13, 2016
Bridges 2015 international conference on math/art intersections, Exhibit, Baltimore, MD, July 28-August 1, 2015
Towson University Center for the Fine Arts Gallery, Exhibit, Towson, MD, June 26-July 25, 2015
Bridges 2012 international conference on math/art intersections, Exhibit, Towson, MD, July 25-29, 2012
Towson University Center for the Fine Arts Gallery, Bridges: Connections between Art and Mathematics,
Towson, MD, June 30-July 29, 2012

Mathematical Art Exhibition, Joint Mathematics Meetings, Best Textile, Sculpture, or Other Medium, 2019
25th Strictly Functional Pottery National, Purchase Award sponsored by The John Ground Collection, 2017
24th Strictly Functional Pottery National, Purchase Award sponsored by The George School, 2016
Ella Fountain Pratt Emerging Artist Grant, Durham Arts Council, Durham, NC, 2014
Founder and curator, 2016-present
A community art project to make the impacts of global warming on distant places more immediately tangible to
makers and viewers, the Potters’ Penguin Project energized nearly 600 makers to create over 2,000 handmade clay
penguins, and raised nearly $5,000 to support environmental advocacy non-profits.

Claymakers Gallery, Durham, NC, January 10-February 11, 2017 (1,973 penguins)
North Carolina State University Crafts Center gallery, Raleigh, NC, February 20-April 28, 2017 (600+ penguins)
Greensboro Science Center, Greensboro, NC, April 25-May 20, 2017 (200+ penguins)
Maker Events:
North Carolina Science Festival, lectures and public Make-a-Penguin events, North Carolina State University,
sponsored by Research Triangle MRSEC, April 8, 2017
Multiple public/independent school Make-a-Penguin workshops, Durham, NC, 2016-2017
Multiple public Make-a-Penguin events, Claymakers, Durham, NC, 2016
“From Our Supporters,” Earthjustice Quarterly Magazine, Spring 2019
“Potters’ Penguin Project,” INDY Week, January 9, 2017

“Thinking like a Pianist/Mathematician/Potter-Designer: Strategies for Tuning Ocarinas.” Proceedings of Bridges
2015: Mathematics, Music, Art, Architecture, Culture (2015), 559–562.

American Mathematical Society, 2020 Calendar of Mathematical Imagery, cover image and October
Ceramics Monthly, “Exposure” (Charlie Cummings Gallery Cup: The Intimate Object), November 2017
500 Teapots Volume 2, Lark Books, 2013
500 Vases, Lark Books, 2010
2019 Joint Mathematics Meetings Exhibition of Mathematical Art, 2019
Bridges 2015 Art Exhibition Catalog, 2015
Bridges 2012 Art Exhibition Catalog, 2012

Planning Committee, Durham County Pottery Tour, November 2016-present
Claymakers Arts Community Inc., Durham, NC:
Board Member, 2019-present
Past-President, 2015
President 2011-2014; assisted with reorganization of Claymakers into 501c3 nonprofit
Founding board member, 2011

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