We love having Patty Ceglio’s ceramics at 1+1=1 Gallery. It’s about time she was our “featured artist” on the website!
Patty continues to grow and evolve with her artwork — exploring the sgraffito technique and new ceramic forms. She dives ever deeper into her work/play to integrate her love of the environment with the urge to create art with her hands. Lately she has been working on a series (what better way to dive deeper, as an artist?) on trees. Every time I see one of her tree works-in-progress, I get more excited for the show coming up in June. I interviewed her for this featured artist post (see below.)
Last year, I made a visit to Patty’s studio and took some photos. As I watched her decorating a bowl, I realized I would never have the patience to work this way. She carves each line individually, thoughtfully, with great care. Brushes off the tiny flecks of leather-hard clay with a soft paintbrush or her breath then turns the bowl a few degrees and carves again. Such patience!
This past February, Patty graciously spent several hours at the gallery during our Hygge Open House week, demonstrating her sgraffito technique. She even let everyone try their hand at carving on the piece. Here are a few pics from that demo:
Patty’s tree series is opening up new doors for her. She has started working more sculpturally — an evolution from her early purely functional pottery.
Here is a link to photos of some of Patty’s past work — we will post pics of her newest work as soon as we have some!
So, I interviewed Patty to find out what makes her artistic heart tick so sweetly
1+1=1: What made you want to become an artist?
Patty Ceglio: There wasn’t an option, really. Having an artist’s soul – you are an artist. What you do is create. And make art.
1+1=1: How did you get started as an artist?
PC: Third grade. My teacher used her magic wand and granted me a scholarship to take Saturday lessons at the Toledo Museum of Art. I spent so many hours in those amazing galleries – our instructors were students from the University of Toledo. Beyond that – I had an incredible high school art teacher – and art was a “major.” My undergrad BFA had me in the studios endlessly. All of that established my solid live-and-breathe-with-art foundation.
1+1=1: What is your favorite medium/technique? Tell us something about your medium — what is it? How do you do it? How did you learn about your medium and what are pros and cons?
PC: I currently work in ceramics, though I adore life drawing as well. They each require consideration of form and line, which makes them more similar than you’d really think. I’ve been throwing on the wheel for many years. While living in Gardiner, I’d drive to Livingston to take classes in their Adult Ed sessions to keep my hands in clay. Upon moving to Helena, I was delighted with the “bonus” of having the Archie Bray community classes available to me almost year round. I have a studio in my house, complete with a potters wheel.
The body of work you’ll see in the June “b&w+1” exhibit at 1+1=1 Gallery, includes decorated porcelain and white stoneware. Some are decorated with underglazes after the initial bisque firing, and some are carved in the leather-hard stage, prior to the first firing. These pieces may be sent through several firings to secure the underglaze before the final glaze firing. Both methods of decoration involve surface decorations which include calligraphy and incorporate meaningful words from wilderness stewards, poets and writers. I weave a story with the art and inspiration. In keeping with the black and white theme, all pieces share the white clay body and the black decorations. As a element of surprise and to reflect a bit of Montana’s “big sky” with this tree series, I include a lovely light blue interior of the pots.
1+1=1: Your work has a very distinctive style. How do you make sure you stay honest and true to your own voice in your work?
PC: Passion and life experience drives my work – the act of creating with clay, whether on the wheel or hand built, allows risk taking and development of a vision, with a beginning and an end. Top to bottom. Start to finish. This provides a vital balance, as my day job involve work that is in constant motion. The black and white, line quality, and calligraphy are unique to me, as is sharing sentiments that speak to me. I, in turn, share that with my audience.
1+1=1: What do you like best about sgraffito?
1+1=1: What are your current fascinations?
1+1=1: Are there other artists in your family?
PC: My grandmother was creative in crafty ways – my mom is a sleeper pencil sketcher. She’d work her Sunday Paper Crossword puzzles in pencil, and occasionally I remember seeing sketches of faces along side her work.
1+1=1: Are you influenced by other artists? Which artists do you admire?
1+1=1: Are you a full time artist? What other jobs have you held or do you hold?
1+1=1: How do you market your art?
1+1=1: Inspirational words are often part of your work. What fascinates you about the written or spoken word and how do you think quotes contribute to viewers understanding of your creative intentions?
1+1=1: What are you working on now?
1+1=1: Do you have a daily routine … maintain regular studio hours?
1+1=1: How much work do you produce in a week or a month? A year?
1+1=1: Does having an exhibit coming up give you a push, or more motivation to be in the studio?
1+1=1: How long does it take to finish one of your sgraffito pieces?
1+1=1: Have you ever felt like you’re in a creative dry spell? What did you do to break free?
1+1=1: What inspires you?
1+1=1: What else do you love to do besides making ceramics?
1+1=1: Do you have any tips for artists who are just starting out?
We think the Cool Works team is lucky to have Patty Ceglio — and she’s lucky to have that cool job! In doing her “job” she has amazing travel opportunities. No wonder she makes such amazing ceramics. Check out the video about how Patty got started with Coolworks.com and what she does with the team.