Stitch in Time – Home & Design Magazine


Pieced collectively like quilts, Samantha Briegel’s alluring ceramics replicate the lushness of material

If every part previous is new once more, then the pendulum is swinging towards Samantha Briegel’s glowing, pixie-dust porcelains. With their lacy patterns, gilded trim and mother-of-pearl luster, her work revives the lavish tableware and rococo extravagance of Victorian days. On the identical time, Briegel introduces up to date touches. By means of a meticulous course of, she transfers the richness of material sample and texture to ceramics, adapting the plush maze of Victorian loopy quilts. Mushy curves that distinguish every vase, bowl, cup and teapot carry private that means.

“Whenever you discuss a vessel, you’re speaking concerning the lip and physique and foot,” she begins. “I wish to use that comparability in a form of autobiographical approach.”

Beneath the floor of her fairly, female items lies deeper commentary. “Garments indicate our bodies,” says Briegel, who typically recasts objects from her personal closet in her artwork. “As an alternative of carrying the garments, I’m reclaiming their identities to make practical objects that present nourishment. It’s a bit of little bit of physique acceptance,” explains the potter, who traces an extended line of artists utilizing ceramic vessels as stand-ins for our bodies, from the anthropomorphic bottles of Peru’s Moche society to trendy vases by Picasso and Betty Woodman.

On a latest morning, Briegel is standing within the Randallstown, Maryland, farmhouse she shares together with her companion, Matt Nierenberg. After the 2 met on-line, he wooed her with a suggestion of studio area in his childhood house. “I moved in on our third date and by no means left,” she says, smiling. “It labored out.”

As mild streams into her basement studio, the ceramic artist demonstrates a couple of steps in her rigorous handcraft. It begins with a plaster mildew of her creation. To make one, Briegel takes a lacy swatch minimize from one in every of her clothes, flattens the 11-by-17-inch cloth on a sticky floor, locations a barrier of boards round it and plugs up the perimeters with clay. She then pours in moist plaster and waits for it to dry, usually over two days. With this system, the potter has amassed some 40 molds, every based mostly on a special garment or cloth border.

Utilizing a mildew, Briegel creates a clay slab shaped of three layers—the primary painted into the mildew’s crevices with a liquid clay known as slip, the second a poured slip, then a layer of rolled clay pressed on prime. As soon as all are bonded collectively, Briegel peels off the clay slab. Its sample stands out in excessive aid, similar to the lacy cloth it got here from.
Porcelain is the potter’s clay of selection. “It captures all the small print of material texture,” she says. “Its translucence pertains to the see-through materials I take advantage of. And it is extremely difficult to work with. I’ve at all times been interested in challenges.”

Living proof: Constructing a helpful object out of items minimize from the textured slab. Like knowledgeable tailor, Briegel plans out patterns for reducing into the clay slab earlier than becoming a member of items collectively. A single bowl might contain 10 seams. “With porcelain, the extra seams you add, the extra potential locations there are for the item to crack,” says the potter, who fires most items thrice in electrical kilns situated in a barn close to her studio.

She minimizes breakage partly by throwing a separate base on a potter’s wheel, then attaching it to the item’s higher physique. “I name that quilting them collectively,” she says. “I like to make use of the identical language for the throwing and stitching processes.”

When she was 9, Briegel obtained a stitching machine as a Christmas reward; it now holds a spot of honor in her workplace. “I grew up within the ‘Undertaking Runway’ era,” observes the 31-year-old. A spotlight was the present’s “unconventional problem” competitors, which concerned making clothes from one thing apart from cloth. “It had an enormous affect on what I do now,” she displays.

Moreover stitching, Briegel was additionally curious about portray and drawing, and meant to review arts schooling upon coming into The College of Tennessee, Knoxville in her hometown. After taking a pottery class and assembly graduate college students in this system, her targets expanded; she went on to obtain a grasp’s of advantageous arts diploma in ceramics at Ohio College.

The ceramicist additionally realized superior clay strategies as an intern on the Archie Bray Basis for the Ceramic Arts in Montana—“a really formative expertise,” she says. Touchdown the primary residency at DC’s District Clay Heart introduced her to the East Coast; that was adopted by a second residency at Baltimore Clayworks. Briegel is now an adjunct professor at Maryland Institute Faculty of Artwork and teaches workshops on her approach across the nation. For the previous three years, she has exhibited on the Smithsonian Craft Present.

Briegel continues to experiment in her studio, striving to make items which might be ever extra comfy to make use of. “I like my work to be practical—however superbly practical,” she clarifies, persevering with, “Wouldn’t you wish to use a stupendous mug on your morning espresso? My work is fairly indulgent in that approach. It provides a bit of little bit of sparkle to the day.”

For extra info, go to samanthabriegel.com.



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