Born From Mud: Nature’s Waltz (February 2017)

Born From Mud: Nature’s Waltz (February 2017)

Artist Showcase, Feb. 1-25

It’s no surprise that many artists find inspiration in the natural world. From beautiful painted landscapes to stunning wildlife photography, nature is the motif that is most often represented in artistic form. Perhaps no practice connects so strongly with the natural elements as pottery, which, by definition, is the craft of making ceramic material into pots using mud. From ancient times to present, potters and ceramicists have been taking parts of the earth and molding them into shapes of beauty and functionality.

In Nickel Plate Arts’ first showcase exhibit of 2017, three local potters will be coming together to share their love of ceramics and nature. “Nature’s Waltz,” on exhibit Feb. 1-25, will showcase the work of Debby Bauman, Kris Gruppe, and Darlene Patterson, a trio of Hamilton county artists with similar interests yet varied backgrounds. The three connected last year through Nickel Plate Arts’ large network of local artists.

Darlene’s first began “making” as a child. On the porch of her family’s 1840’s farmhouse, Darlene and her sisters would make mud pies into mud castles in northern Indiana. From there, her love of nature was further developed by a childhood spent traveling gypsy-style with forest baths in the woods, blossoming later into a full-grown wanderlust handed down from her parents. Darlene still travels often today and encourages young nature enthusiasts in the outdoor adventure club that she leads at her school. Having completed her art and education studies at Ball State University, Darlene creates her work in her home studio, Patterson Pottery, as well as in her art classroom where she teaches elementary art students.

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Kris’s journey in clay did not begin until a life-changing event in 2001. She sought instruction in Ball State University’s Adult Continuing Education Program and continued on to develop her own style, gravitating towards a quickly-created, spontaneous feel that always harkens back to her love for the natural: “I love everything about Indiana; the landscape, barns, fields, fall foliage, wildlife, and wild flowers.” Indiana’s native coneflower often adorns her pieces, which vary from hand-built to wheel-thrown. Kris is currently working out of her home studio on the shores of Morse Lake in Cicero.

While Debby’s background is very different from the rest of the trio, her love of nature is not. Growing up on a farm with an olive grove in Turkey, Debby spent much of her time exploring her backyard with her dog and five siblings. She found that she felt most at home surrounded by trees and bubbling brooks, bathed in the natural light of the sun. Debby moved to Germany to attend the Black Forest Academy and fell in love with exploring the endless surrounding forest lands and creeks. Upon her introduction to wheel throwing, she found herself captivated: “I fell in love with the art of shaping and molding a lump of clay; at each stage, you can manipulate or change it, but always with the end of goal of creating something beautiful.”

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These three artists will be showing their collective works in our Stephenson House gallery space from Wednesday, Feb. 1, to Saturday, Feb. 25, with a special Opening Reception on Saturday, Feb. 4, from 2 p.m. to 5 p.m. The showcase will be viewable to public during normal gallery hours, Wednesday – Friday from noon until 5 p.m. and Saturday from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Admission is free.

Coming up in March, we’re featuring the work of local photographer Michael Jack. Details here. 

Rachael O'Dell
rodell@nickelplatearts.org