Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Kathleen Rabe of Clay And Labor

A good friend of mine, Miss Kathleen Rabe of Clay And Labor, is a super talented ceramic artist and for a local Austin boutique, Finch, we had a chat about her work via email.

1. Tell us a little bit about yourself--where you're from, what you're up to, etc.

Hi Rachel, thanks so much your interest in my work! You guys at Finch are the greatest. Ok, so here goes (!). Two years ago I moved from Austin up to small town Alfred, NY to go back to school for ceramics. I still have a home base in Austin, and absolutely consider myself an Austinite, just taking a bit of an extended vacation. Currently I am working on my thesis show, which will be shown in Austin next December!

2. You used to use a lot of white in your ceramics, are you now employing a bit more color in your pieces? What motivated the change?

My most recent work was made this summer in my studio in Alfred. This was the first time I had ever experienced a real season change from spring to summer, and the flowers were amazing! I realized all that color made for a very good mood, and I wanted to bring that good energy into my studio.

3. Where do you get some of the ideas for your imagery?

Most of my imagery is found. I pull from old children's books or books on nature or animals or machines or really anything that catches my eye. I don't know there is a really clear common thread, but I think in general I like imagery that reminds me of things I have experienced and like to remind myself of; they almost act like photographs in that sense.
4. Why did you choose to pursue ceramics as opposed to anything else, non- art related?

There is a familiarity to the ceramic object that I find really powerful. It is non threatening and approachable. I find that people are more receptive to my ceramic work because they have a point of entry; we all have our individual histories with ceramic objects (like a family's holiday china). As for my ceramic table ware and functional objects, I really enjoy the idea of my work being used, and enhancing ones daily experiences. I love the ceramics I have collected over the years. When I eat from my Mud Australia bowls I feel indulgent and sophisticated, and when I take my perfume from my Diana Fayt plate I fell fanciful and nostalgic. I love that the objects we surround ourselves with can enhance our daily lives.

5. Are there any other artists that you admire? Or whom you get inspiration?

Right now I am really into Pueblo Wedding Vases, I love the idea of the heirloom and ceramics being central to cultural traditions. I have also been looking at Valeria Nascimento's work lately; she uses simple components to create complex installations, love! I look at blogs all the time too, Copenhagen Style Blog is one of my favorites!

6. What do you have going on for the future? Any projects you're excited about? Traveling plans?

Lately I have been working on a few lighting projects that have been really fun. Currently I am making pendent lights that are inspired by paper bag hot air balloons. This will lead right into my next project which is actually going to be done in Austin in December-January; I will be creating a lighting installation for the Gypsy Wagon Stages studio space, a craftsmen-style portable stage business started by Conner and Denny Finn. Super exciting!
All images via Clay And Labor.

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