Gertrude Graham Smith, Potter
Gertrude Graham Smith, nicknamed Gay, is a studio potter and teaching artist who single fires her porcelain ware in a soda kiln near Penland, NC. She creates dinnerware, vases, tumblers, candelabras, lidded canisters, teapots and mugs from porcelain clay formed and altered on the potter’s wheel. Each pottery piece is glazed when leather-hard, and fired to cone 10 in a soda kiln.
The tactile quality of the clay, both surface and form, appeal to the sense of touch and the scale of the human hand. The pots look alive, a bit whimsical, and are intended to bring life, beauty, and years of enjoyment into the lives of those who use them.
Gertrude Graham Smith
Gertrude Graham Smith, nicknamed Gay, is a studio potter and teaching artist who single fires her porcelain ware in a soda kiln near Penland, NC.
These days, I contemplate living as a practicing artist on a planet facing extraordinary shifts. I imagine how the work of my hands and heart might contribute.
Perhaps, doing this work develops qualities which may benefit: caring attention, commitment, honesty, courage, passion, hard work, love of beauty, and a willingness to get one’s hands dirty.
Simple pottery, like cups, can be made consciously to hold and serve nourishment. Objects designed to bring pleasure and joy with use and touch. The continuing, primordial, mysterious act of creation links us with that process, and with the essential raw materials of which we and the pots are made: earth, water, fire, air.
Do consciously made pots carry some ineffable ability to transform and heal? What lies embedded in the stone of fired clay by the creative alchemical bond between material, process, and person. What may be conveyed through use or enjoyment? A hand grasps a handle; compassion arises in the heart. This is what I intend.
Gay’s grant awards include a North Carolina Arts Council Visual Arts Fellowship in 2008/9, and Regional Artist Project Grants in 2009/10 and 2012/13.
She’s held artist-in-residencies at the Archie Bray Foundation and at Penland School. Her teaching credits include workshops at Haystack Mountain School of Crafts, Penland School, the Harvard Ceramics Studio, and the Findhorn Foundation in Northern Scotland.
Her work is represented internationally, and is in many collections including the Mint Museum, Charlotte, NC and Yingge Ceramics Museum in Taiwan. She was featured in Ceramics Monthly magazine in 2007 and 2010. Her work can be viewed in numerous publications including Making Marks and Functional Pottery by Robin Hopper and Working with Clay by Susan Peterson.