Our artist for today is Beck Gray, one of several fine ceramic sculptors who will be at the Spruce Pine Potters Market this fall. Becky has lived in the area for as long as any of us, and she tells us about her work and herself:
[How long have you lived here? What brought you here? Where did you grow up?]
> Thirty-five years (Wow !). I moved here because I had been here from Penland, and loved the place and felt a strong spiritual connection with it. Also, my husband lives here, and I met him here. Actually, I am still growing up, but I spent my childhood in Asheville.
[What type of work do you make? Have you always made this type of work? What is your favorite part of the process? Why? What are three words that describe your work?]
Sculptural, Raku, Vessels. I make reduced, sculptural pottery. Yes, for the most part…[I have always made this work. Ed.]. Sculpting the forms, and creating the spirits of the figures is a very moving and challenging process for me…my favorite part of the process, though I love all parts of the experience of working with clay and fire.
[Do you collect something other than pottery? Is there a particular object or designer that you find intriguing?]
Miniature shamanic animal forms… Works of primitive and outsider artists, also. I love the work of Christopher Troxell among others.
[Have you traveled recently and found inspiration?]
We travel a lot. Recently, a trip to Barcelona and the northern coast of Spain was very inspiring. Also a recent hiking trip to the redlands of Utah. The natural forms and colors of the desert, and the artworks of the Ancient Ones found there are very moving.
[Can you describe a pot you have lived with for more than 5 years, and share why it is important to you?]
My life is filled daily with companion pots. All of these are important to me because they all share a little of the spirit of their creators whenever I use them.
[What is the best advice you have received about your own artwork? What advice would you give out to others?]
Be true to your own unique inspiration, and follow that path daily. Create works which reflect the best symbols of your unique creative spirit.
[Why do you make the work you do? Who do you make it for?]
I make my work because I cannot bear to make anything else. I make my work for me, for those who will reflect upon it, and take comfort from it, and for those who might come upon it 100 years from now.
[If you think a pot of you’ve made is awful, and someone whose opinion you respect believes it to be wonderful, how do you resolve the difference?]
Usually I am looking at the image that I wished I had created, and they are seeing the reality in front of them. I take comfort in, and thank them for, the response that they have to the actual pot in front of them.
[Can you think of a particular personality trait you have that helps or helped you in becoming a potter/artist?]
I am very happy to be quiet and lost in worlds of my own for long periods of time.
[Do you play a musical instrument or sport?]
I love to sing. I hike, kayak, ski, and I used to enjoy soccer very much.