Handmade Stoneware Pottery by Kathy Swan
I feel deeply connected to and fascinated by the natural world and often invoke elements of nature in my work. My Ellicott City home, in a wooded area near the Patapsco State Park in Maryland, is where my husband, native plant garden and a menagerie of pets and wild animals keep me entertained and inspired every day.
I am lucky to live in a mostly wooded area with wildlife all around. Living where I do influences my mood and thoughts. When I see the spring ephemeral flowers coming up, and hear the sound of spring peepers, it makes me content. It also allows me to transfer some of that feeling into what I make. There is not always a direct correlations between what is seen on the pot and what I see every day, but I am always making connections between my surroundings and what I do.
One of my passions is gardening, especially with plants native to my area. Part of this entails removing some nonnative, invasive species. I've found a way to incorporate the twining vines of Oriental Bittersweet into handles on some of my basket vases and lidded jars. It's nice to create something unique and beautiful from the chore of lopping enormous vines from trees.
I have been taking art classes throughout my life, focusing largely on drawing. I minored in Art in college, but I didn't take my first ceramics class until the late 1990's. Ever since, I have been attending classes, workshops and conferences from (formerly) Creative Clay (Alexandria, VA), Columbia Art Center (Columbia, MD), Baltimore Clayworks (Baltimore, MD), NCECA, and Hood College (Frederick, MD). I continue to synthesize my knowledge and skills from every one of my helpful instructors and classes, exploring and refining new ideas for my work.