“Crackpot” art is made with various techniques that can take anywhere from five minutes to two hours in the making, apart from firing and blazing, according to Mary Grace, a Los Angeles artist who participated recently in the Long Beach Open Studio Tour.
In addition, two never look exactly the same. “It’s almost like Christmas when you open the kiln,” she explained. “It’s always mysterious and wonderful. It’s always a surprise.”
When Grace began taking a ceramics class in high school, she was instantly hooked. “That just grabbed me and didn’t let me go,” she said.
Grace received her education at University of Colorado, where she took more professional classes. She also taught workshops at a community Christian school in Long Beach for four years.
Today, she still attends ceramic classes. In the future, she hopes to teach seniors how to mold clay.
Grace’s inspiration is simply life. “I open my eyes in the morning, and I see something fabulous immediately…all of nature, actually,” she said. “Anyone who does art inspires me in some way or another. More of my inspiration comes from my internal connection with my world. The bigger place inside of me is very expansive. It’s more of a spiritual practice. All of creativity is really innate in all of us. It’s a matter of connecting into it.”
Out of a series, Grace always finds one particular favorite. “I like everything that comes out generally,” she said. “It may not be what I expected or wanted, but I find something redeeming about most of it.”
In one particular series, the pieces had the implied texture of dolphin skin. “They were really fantastic,” Grace added.
Grace is currently putting together a show made up of 108 tea bowls. “It’s an auspicious number,” she said. “I did it over a couple years with a lot of other things in between. I had to make several hundred in order to make the 108 that I wanted to show. They are all completely different kinds of clay, different kinds of blazes [and] different kinds of firing. Yeah, it’s fun.”
Grace hopes to show this series next winter in Portland. She also aspires to take it overseas.