Wednesday, September 23, 2015

Nancy Sausser, Ceramic Sculpture Artist, Tells Her Story

Glimpsing, ceramic, 16 x 12 x 3 inches

Like most artists, I fell into the process of making things early on.  I liked to make presents for people, and after my grandmother taught me to crochet, I started stitching things for family and friends.  I never liked rules or patterns, so I made those up too.  I felt the elation that comes from realizing an idea, from knowing the whole process.

Couplet, ceramic, 14 x 9 x 2 inches

I had a few art teachers along the way who saw my interest and singled me out.  Making things became second nature. A ceramics teacher in 10th grade was special. She taught me how to think about what I made, to make my thoughts.  Now it was more than just making things for the joy of it, it was somehow wound up in who I was, who I wanted to be, what I had to say. 

Geometric Variations, ceramic,  50 x 50 x 5 inches

I was stuck on clay early on but somehow managed to go to a college that had no ceramics classes.  This turned out to be a good thing – it made me expand. There were fantastic art professors, as well as a renowned English department. I learned to write and I learned to work with wood, to weld steel, to make prints, to draw.  I leaned that the medium was in service of the idea and to articulate my ideas in words as well as in materials. 

A Small View In, ceramic, 13 x 18 x 3 inches

All this came in handy later on. Our experiences come together eventually, wind around each other and converse.  After earning an MFA in sculpture during a period where I was mostly excited about making drawings, I found myself in need of a job.  I started working for arts organizations.  This led to a long career as a curator.  I came to it through the back door, without planning it, but have found writing about art and organizing exhibitions of contemporary art to be tremendously creative.  It’s a collaboration between me, the artists, their work and the space.  Like making art, making an exhibit happen is creating something that wasn’t’ there before. And it reflects back on to my art in unexpected ways.

 Each One to the Other, ceramic 60 x 60 x 4 inches

In the meantime, in my studio, I have come back around to working with clay.  It’s my home base.  I make things that hang on the wall, mostly.  They’re usually about place, and space, about taking you somewhere else, somewhere imagined.  They usually involve repetition and the spark between the line and the curve, between freedom and control.  This work emerges slowly, but it is always there, waiting to happen, waiting to be made.

Moving Forward/Staying Put, ceramic, 21 x 21 x 5 inches


This is Week 37 of 52 Artists in 52 Weeks. Thank you for reading and sharing Nancy's story today!

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