Carren Clarke

Artist Statement

When the phone rings, and we answer, sometimes, on the other end is actually a doorway to the path for which one is meant to travel.

Some years ago, my interest in learning and creating pottery was reignited by a phone call from my mother. She asked if I would be interested in attending classes with her. To which I responded excitedly, “Yes”. These classes, taught by my now business partner, Nga Nguyen Weaver, unbeknownst to me, would change the direction of my life.  As I stepped through the door of the studio, I stepped onto the path that is my passion, my life’s work. Creating art from earthen soil.

 

I enjoy working in clay because it is soft, supple, pliable, resilient, and strong. Feeling it in my hands, as my fingers manipulate it into a bowl, vessel, or especially a face or body, I am inspired by the power it has to challenge me to stretch my creativity to new levels. Clay allows me to create objects that transcend form, texture, color, and even emotion.

 

As I move from inspiration, conceptual design to actual creation of a piece, I am left with the sentiment of a parent raising a child and molding them into a unique individual ready to become part of a vast world. Crafting beautiful objects of art to be appreciated, to inspire, that empower viewers to celebrate themselves as well as the natural world is the gratification I strive for.

 

During my education in and of creating with clay, I have had the opportunity to travel to and be influenced by various world cultures. A strong influence in my work is drawn from the various African cultures whose symbols can be traced back hundreds of years.

Incorporating a distinct set of cultural references, symbols and iconography affords me yet another narrative for expressing the collective shared experiences of various cultures, and the human race.  I use a complex method of layering symbols with specific meanings to convey a message to the viewer. These symbols can be as beautifully simple as ceremonial or tribal marks or as complex as the Adinkra symbols with an infusion of cowrie shells, scarabs, butterflies or other of nature’s hidden meaning messengers. I try to always explore beauty as it relates to the sublime that is always available and found in the in nature, and the universe.

 

By birth, my roots are southern. Via life experiences, my vision is contemporary and global. My objective and goal is to create a body of work that exemplifies the world around us, regardless of race, creed, color, or religion. As I see it, art is a means to communicate, to enlighten. Clay is the medium by which I get to say “We have but to take a moment, to close our eyes, see the beauty inside our self, then open our eyes and see that there is beauty in and around us all.”


 

It often said we forget the simple joys of childhood. The simple pleasures, well I revel in mine as I get to play with “mud” every day.