For Teresa Pietsch pottery reflects the need to make objects that are both functional and beautiful. She strives to make pots that people want to touch, hold and use. She loves the entire process of making from her studio in Penland, NC. The process of throwing and forming functional pieces–while getting covered with clay – is one of her greatest joys. Working in an array of color, pattern and subtle textures, Teresa draws inspiration from trees, plants and ideas that are centered in life, growth and experience.
How did you get started as an artist?
I took my first art class when I was a senior in high school and knew I needed to make things from that point forward. I spent too many years working 9-5 jobs, but always fit in time for different classes or studio work, not ever thinking I could make a career of it. Seven years ago I learned about a residency in the North Carolina mountains, and I have been working as a full time potter ever since.
What five words best describe your work?
Color, texture, life, function, floral, individual.
How does your love of nature influence your art?
I love to go for walks and observe the world around me. I look at color, pattern, and textures, watching things in nature as they grow and change. I bring pictures/images back into my studio and some form of it ends up on the pieces I am decorating. I want my work to represent or show the life, color, peace and happiness that I find in nature.
Tell us a bit about your technique.
I use a monoprint slip transfer method to decorate my work. I draw the images on newsprint using a slip trailer, then brush and layer slip. After it sets up, I burnish the slip image onto the pot, and gently peel away the newsprint, revealing the image on the pot. I finish the design with slip trail dots or carve lines as added detail and texture.
What is a typical workday like for you?
My workday starts while I’m enjoying my first cup of coffee in a handmade mug made by friends, checking emails and doing computer work. Then I move into the studio where I work for the rest of the day. Usually I take a break during the day to go for a walk and look for inspiration. My work cycle is more of a weeklong process. I spend a day throwing and the rest of the week decorating.
What do you listen to while you work?
The hours can be really long, especially near deadlines, but the company of audiobooks always helps me focus on the work.
What is your favorite thing about being an artist?
My favorite thing about being an artist is that I am never bored. There are always new things to try and more challenges to figure out. I also like that the work seems to make people happy when they use it.
Top image via Lark & Key, all others Teresa Pietsch.