Katheryn Sins  |  Ceramic  |  Phoenix, AZ

Artist Statement

In the beginning of the summer of 1998 I was informed by my principal that I would be teaching ceramics the following year. I had not touched clay in 25 years! I went to Glendale Community College that summer for a “crash” course and this time I really enjoyed working in clay. I have been a fixture at GCC ever since.

I finally retired from Phoenix Union in May 2007. Since then I have been working on my own ceramic work, volunteering with my pet therapy dogs, and working as one of the ceramics lab technicians at Glendale Community College. I am also an adjunct instructor at Glendale Community College.

Q&A with Katheryn Sins

What process/materials did you use to create your artwork?  My current ceramic work combines wheel thrown forms with hand-building.  Craftsmanship is important, as is the freedom to let the clay tell me what it wants to become. I use wheel-thrown, closed forms and manipulate the clay to resemble a natural, living object from the earth that the clay comes from.  My work is both functional and sculptural, combining the functional aspects of traditional ceramics with sculptural forms related to nature.  Each sculpture has a functional element as a lidded container.  The lids are part of the sculpture, and are usually hidden.  Each element of the piece is constructed and bisque fired separately.  The pieces are then individually stained and glazed, and the piece is finally assembled in the glaze firing. All pieces are reduction fired to cone 10.

What inspires you to create and what inspires your work?  My studio is surrounded by a variety of desert plants that are my inspiration. My pieces have evolved from one pod per piece to several pods as part of the larger sculpture. 

If you had to describe your artwork in 5 words or less, what words would you use?  Ceramic Nature inspired functional sculpture.

What other artists inspire you? What's your favorite art work?  Jennifer McCurdy, Marilyn Levine, Dale Chihuly, Joseph Cornell, Duane Hanson,

Favorite artwork:  Chihuly installation at Desert Botanical Gardens

What do you want your viewers to know about you as an artist (if anything?)  My background is in sculpture; I came to ceramics later in my career

What's the best advice you've ever been given?  Don't get too attached to your work.....and in Ceramics the piece isn't a reality until it survives the final firing.

What is your favorite artist tool?  Wire loop tool

What is your dream project?  To create an installation of ceramic alien plant forms.

What do you like about your work?  It is both functional and sculptural.

How has your practice or process changed over time?  My pieces take a long time to complete; as they have become more intricate over the years they take longer than before.  I really enjoy the process so time really slips away.

What memorable responses have you had to your work?  I have some pieces "planted" in my garden.  During the last studio tour I had some studio guests who thought they were real desert plants and asked about the variety and where to get one.

Why art?  Art is a universal language.

Website:  www.KatherynSins.com