Artist: Tara Underwood
Tara Underwood, NORTH CAROLINA
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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.
Tara has been making things for as long as she can remember. She 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.