Mary Donahue

“With ancient art as my reference, I tell my story with a personal vocabulary of forms and surfaces and a vast range and richness of Art from the past.As an artist, I deal with the notions of identity and imagination. I like to imagine myself as if I lived and made art in an ancient civilization. I like to put myself into the state of mind of someone who faces only simple tools and technologies for making art. The emotions of joy, grief and wonder can all be portrayed through the realm of form, movement, color, and texture. All can be found in the art of the past. I like combining aesthetic influence from many times and places to communicate my everyday experiences with themes like the investigation of human relationships, the majesty and mystery of nature, and everyday life as ceremony.”

Mary holds a BFA in ceramics from the University of Tulsa, and has independently studied primitive pottery-making methods for thirty years.She has taught pottery making methods at several art centers and presents workshops and lectures in primitive pottery making methods a her studio, Shiva D Pottery, in Tallahassee.”Somehow, the image of Shiva, the Hindu god of disillusion and new creation, dancing in a ring of fire, seemed an appropriate inspiration for my studio. My work has always been about the beginnings of human creativity.”

Technical Information:
I use both high and low-fire clays to make my work. Most of the forming is hand built using pinching, coils, slabs and my own press-molds. I sometimes coat my work with terra sigillata or colored slips but never use glaze as I don’t plan to fire it high enough to melt glaze.I burnish or polish the sculpture or vessel with a smooth stone (like Native American, Early Greek, or Etruscan pottery) bisque fire and then smoke-fire patterns on it using different resist methods. The smoke firing is done using dry pine straw, oak leaves, and shredded newspaper. After the pieces are cooled-to-touch I wash them to remove soot and resist, then apply wax to protect the shine.