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Artist ID: 2484

"My goal is to establish a form and surface visual that expresses an edge of uncertainty and vulnerability with the power to initiate a dialogue with the story discovered within — a story that invites pause and ultimately engages my next move."

Eroding hillsides, a swirling ripples on water's surface, the rhythmic pattern of ocean flora and their associated shadow and reflection inspires endless relationship intrigue, revealing a story that challenges my expression. Utilizing elements that demand physical involvement in building form and surface, I hand-build my sculptural forms to preserve this symbolic gesture of energy, coiling each form using stoneware, earthenware, or porcelain. I frequently paddle the form's surface to mark and engage with its inner resonance which is reminiscent of tidal rhythm and flow and allows the clay to “speak” to me as the form evolves. Oxide stains (usually copper and iron), slips, or color-tinted underglaze are layered on the surface of low-fired forms in preparation for etching techniques that will establish a surface visual that maps a spirited dance within.

I engage many firing methods appropriate for the applied surface and the clay used in each work, with a preference for atmospheric firing. How the surface elements attract and cast flame plays an integral role in the evolution of the story that ultimately engages the completion and beginning of my next work.

ARTIST BIO: Melanie Ferguson
Born in the seaport town of Newport, Oregon, Melanie Ferguson's interest in art was richly influenced by her ocean surroundings and nourished by assisting, studying, and working with coastal artists and native elders. She experimented with many artistic forms of expression, subsequently focusing on the properties of hand blown sheet glass and the theory of painting with light, evolving a narrative style applied to architectural and commercial glass commissions. This venture in glass prompted a move to Washington State's Puget Sound where she studied Visual Communication at Northwest College of Art. Following a three-year placement as designer and account manager for a leading Puget Sound advertising agency, Melanie established herself as a freelance agent specializing in branding identity and product design, serving corporate, municipal, and non-profit clients from 1990 - 2005. A longtime desire to live in the Southern United States initiated a move to the state of Georgia where she began full-time study of Contemporary Ceramics at Roswell Art Center West in 2007, exploring the sculptural quality of the hand-built form and the narrative grace of surface with a special focus on wood, soda, and atmospheric firing. Today, her works are exhibited nationally and internationally as she continues her artistic exploration of sculptural form and surface from her Loch Highland studio near Roswell, Georgia.

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