WHAT DOES IT FEEL LIKE TO SHAPE THE TACTILE MEDIU OF CLAY? ARTIST CANDACE TAYLOR TALKS PROCESS IN WORKING AT THE WHEEL AND HOW THE INSIGHTS SHE GAINS FROM IT APPLY TO EVERYDAY LIFE.
WHAT DO YOU LIKE ABOUT WORKING WITH CLAY?
The way it feels in your hands. It’s the most hands-on medium. I also like how messy you can get. With ceramics you can kind of let go, and I really like the feeling of that. I like how process-heavy it is, how you have to take steps before your final piece comes out. That gives you time to really reflect on things conceptually.
WHAT DOES CLAY FEEL LIKE IN YOUR HANDS?
It depends on what kind of clay and how dry it is — sometimes it can be really hard to work with. The best feeling is when you get a new bag of clay and you open it and — this is going to sound disgusting — but usually mold can form on it because it’s wet and stuck in a plastic bag for so long, but it smells good, like…this earthy, fresh smell. A new bag of clay feels soft, wedging it is just a good feeling in your hands — it’s soft like you’re getting a massage, but then you’re also doing the work.
HOW DO YOU KNOW WHEN TO START OVER ON A PIECE AND WHEN TO KEEP GOING WITH ITS CREATION?
It’s kind of hard to explain that feeling. You plan things out and you have that idea of how you want something to look — of course, when you’re on the wheel, that’s something that can totally change. There have been times when I’ll be on the wheel and I’m like, ‘This is what I wanted, but I think it would look better if it were taller.’ When working with wet clay, if you mess up your cup it’s not the end of the world. You can make another one, and who knows? The next one might be even better, or you’ll learn something new.
HOW DO YOU KNOW WHEN A PIECE IS FINISHED?
As an artist you get this feeling inside like, ‘This is done. This is complete.’
HOW HAS BEING A CERAMICIST SHAPED YOUR WORLDVIEW?
I learn to take a step back, look at things and be more patient as a person. You’re always growing. You can’t just come to school for art and think, ‘Oh, well I’ve done the foundation classes, I’ve taken a couple of ceramics classes, I’m a good artist.’ There are artists who are still growing, and they’re in their 30s and 40s, changing. It’s a constant thing, because people are constantly changing.
CERAMICIST CANDACE TAYLOR
HOMETOWN: Sikeston, Missouri
MOVED TO CAPE GIRARDEAU: To attend SEMO. Considers it home after living here for five and a half years.
MAJOR: Art, with emphases in ceramics and printmaking.
YEAR AT SEMO: A super-super senior. Switched major from dietetics to art during senior year of college after falling in love with the process of pottery through the class “Ceramics and Metaphor.”
MAKES: Clay planters, cups, bowls, vases
THEMES IN HER WORK: Feminism, plant imagery, nature-based colors, organic shapes
ARTISTS WHO SHAPE HER WORK: Barbara Kruger, Louise Bourgeois
INSPIRATIONS: Feminism, architecture, nature, people-watching
HOPES FOR THE FUTURE: Keep working on pottery conceptually; buy a pottery wheel and kiln for personal use; move to Athens, Ohio, to do a post-bac program or residency before applying to graduate school; continue becoming a better person and artist.
REASON FOR INTEREST IN PLANTS: “I’m still trying to figure that out.”
FIND HER WORK AT: Stash Boutique and Sta Cafe in downtown Cape Girardeau