Susan Prieto

6321 Bruntwood Ct, Boulder, CO 80303

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Pottery and sculpture are the medium I use express my love of nature, its texture and patterns. As I make my ceramics, I typically begin by throwing a piece on a pottery wheel, though sometimes I begin with a slab that I roll with a large rolling pin. I use a variety of clay bodies, white, red and speckled with iron. Most of my work is functional table ware and meant to be used daily.

There are a variety of techniques that I use to create each unique piece. One of my favorites, sgraffito, includes painting an under glaze or slip to the piece, allow it to get leather hard, then carve a design into it. The under glazes I purchase commercially, but the slips I make using wet clay and adding stains or oxides. Using sgraffito adds texture and patterns to my pieces. My inspiration comes from patterns in nature and my gardens. For pieces that I don't carve into, I often use objects that I find in nature and even reuse or recycled items to create texture into a piece.

Another technique I enjoy is using stencils, which I cut, free form, with scissors and newspaper, then paint on a slip. Adding a slip trail or dots with these gives texture to the pieces. Some pieces I add animals as part of the form. I take great joy in making each piece original, knowing that the user can take joy in the nature and form of the piece.

Finally, I bisque fire the pieces, glaze them and glaze fire them. The glazes are midfire temperatures, cone 5-6. I usually dip my pieces to glaze them. I recently began mixing my own glazes. It is extremely satisfying to make my own glazes. Making glazes requires precise measuring, careful mixing, then test firing each glaze and glaze combination. The science behind combinations of glazes and clay bodies makes it challenging and fun. Opening the kiln after a glaze firing is one of the most exciting moments in a potter's work. I never tire of it, even if the glazes don't turn out as expected.

This world, and our place in it has limited resources. My respect for our environment carries into my daily work. I use about one gallon total of water for a day of throwing including clean up. The same is true with glazing. I've created my own very efficient way of water usage. My pieces portray my love of nature through designs, patterns, colors and textures. My hope is to share that love and to bring a sense of peace to the user.


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