ARTIST INTERVIEW: Edith Gwathmey

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Edith Gwathmey started out as a painter and studied art in the 60s in New York, living in Soho when it was a hotbed of Happenings and Minimalism. After the birth of her daugher Rachel, she struggled with painting, but soon discovered clay. She was drawn by the sheer joy of messing about combined with the rigor of craft, and it has held her attention ever since. She incorporates her love of painting, exploring the play between pattern and form. We spoke to Edith about her creative process and inspirations.

What is your background and how have your past experiences fed into your art?

I started out as a painter and studied art in the 60s in New York, and lived in Soho when it was a hotbed of Happenings and Minimalism.. After Rachel, my daughter, was born I was struggling with painting and with clay I found the shear joy of messing about combined with the rigor of craft. It has held my attention ever since. I have held on to the painting part by painting under glazes and I love the play between pattern and form. Teaching children all my life has kept my approach fresh and direct. Kids have a natural spontaneity that is so inspiring to me.

 

Do you feel that your environment feeds into work and if so, what makes your work distinctively Californian?
I find working in a shared studio of potters is supportive of growth and exchange of ideas, as well as the nitty gritty practice of making things. I enjoy the dialogue of making pots for people and thinking about what pleases them as well as myself.

 

What are your top 3 studio essentials?
Having a clay studio for me requires clay, a kiln and a wheel, essentially, and those 3 lead to needing and enjoying a work environment with other people.

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