I always thought I didn't have one drop of artistic talent in my blood, I couldn’t draw well or paint and although I appreciated music very much, I was not a good musician either. Today, however, I’m a potter and a photographer. Although I began primarily as a photographer I have metamorphosed into a potter. Here is how everything began.
One day I started to take pictures with an old camera and I thought I had found my art. On my birthday my father gave me a professional camera and I took some classes where I learned to develop and print my own work. I taught photography in Brazil until I moved to the US for graduate school with my husband. During my course work, I took Ceramics 101 almost as a default at the time.
|Wheel thrown and altered jewelry box|
All the centering, lifting and physical work I had to do with the clay was very difficult but I loved it. I took ceramics classes every semester from 1989 until 1992. While my photography skills were getting better both technically and artistically, my ceramic crafts were still in the early stages. But I kept going until I graduated and when we moved to the Washington DC area, I found Glen Echo Park.
Glen Echo Park has an incredible photography department with a state-of-the-art darkroom, but I joined the Glen Echo potters instead. It was there, where I did not have any grades to worry about and no sense of aesthetics I needed to follow from someone else, with great people around me, that I slowly developed my skills and personal style. Today I have my own studio at home where I work every day enjoying every step of the process. I make mostly functional pieces and like to use a number of different clays and glazes. I sell my wares at markets and bazaars and I accept commissions as well.
This year, however, I plan to devote a good amount of my time to an old project that got lost along the years. When my dad passed in 2008, I thought of making a work in his memory. My father was a great storyteller so I thought of making some pots decorated with children's stories. They might be vases, lamps, murals, boxes, or whatever fits the story. I love this work! This style is completely different from my regular pieces but because these pieces are special to me, they must be different.
|Ms. Cockroach's Wedding and Jack and the Beanstalk|
I work from the inside out, sculpting figures by pushing the clay, working all the way up until the story unfolds. So far, I have made four of these pieces -- a vase with Jack and the Beanstalk, a jewelry box with The Steadfast Tin Soldier, a cookie jar with Ms. Cockroach’s Wedding (O Casamento da Dona Baratinha) and a lidded jar that tells The Monkey’s Big Tail (O Macaco do Rabo Comprido), my father's signature story. I plan to finish this project by 2018, weaving it in with my regular functional pieces.
|The Monkey's Big Tale|
Time, diligence, and a lot of work and support from my family proved me wrong - I do have more than one drop of artistic blood in my veins … and I like it.
This is Week 8 of 52 Artists in 52 Weeks. Thank you for reading and sharing Ana’s story today! To connect with Ana and see more of her work, please click the following links: