For the Frill of it

Artist Statement

As a ceramic artist, I am committed to exploring clay as an expressive material. Its tactile quality, rich history, and utilitarian, sculptural, and decorative applications continually inspire me. For the Frill of It references clay roof tiles, a practical springboard to make something impractical -- ruffled tiles.

This project began as a daydream over a year ago. I imagined myself very small and standing under a giant ballerina's tutu. Surrounded and enveloped by her tutu, I was swept by the beauty of her skirt. It wasn’t until I revisited this daydream that I began to recognize the strength, power, and grace of the ballerina.

In the studio, ideas of luxury and excess and how they translate through fashion and dress initially inspired my research. Through a reductive process in which I remove information, a ruffled tile remained. As I began constructing the ruffles and testing fit and installation methods, the similarity to clay roof tiles was evident. The connection to a roof, its purpose to provide protection, added layers to the ruffles not only in physical assembly but in meaning. This association deepened my exploration of what is viewed as feminine and masculine and how they support and/or oppose one another.

The production of the tiles was systematic. The repetitive tasks and months of studio time allowed for an internal dialogue about investment of time and effort, practicality, and triviality. As the work increased in size and scope, it began to take on a life of its own and I no longer questioned my commitment to it or its value.                   

For the Frill of It was a transformative journey. Through the enormity of the project and commitment required, I continually examined and reflected on my evolving relationship to the work. My hope with this work is to impart warmth, softness, and strength.