Saturday, August 02, 2008

Nancy Ferrari on the backgound of her fanciful vessels on display at Bossier Arts Council

Elsie Faith, when asked how long it took to paint a particular watercolor piece, answered, " three hours--but I spent 50 years learning how to do it".

Thus writes artist Nancy Ferrari of her work on display at the Bossier Arts Council Gallery. She continues:

I, too, am a mature artist, but working in clay. Mediterranean by ancestry, my interest in creating art was kindled in the sensual sights and sounds of Turkey, where I took a pottery class as a military housewife with two children. I continued to try to soak up every drop of knowledge about the craft by taking classes at the Creative Craft Alliance when we moved to Shreveport. Now, I mentor others learning to express their creativity in clay by networking with other clay people.

My pottery is made by hand in slab form or on the wheel. An individual piece may be composed of several clay pieces joined, or I may shape it, allowing for shrinkage, so it can accommodate a driftwood handle. One feature that is my trademark is carving in the greenware stage to provide sculptural depth to the work.

Although many of my pieces are functional, I started out with gigantic, Romanesque goblets and sets of liqueur carafes with tiny cups because I wanted clients to enjoy the pieces as they enjoyed their lives--I also sometimes do nonfunctional work such as framed wall hangings featuring segmented low relief carved fish. The work is always sculptural and enriched by influences from many cultures. For example, now I make bowls and platters that have stylized oriental feet. This came from my interest in learning the proportions and structure of bonsai pots and bases. Other interests feed into the development of my pottery. My years in jewelry design and making (silver and copper with stone setting) taught me the power of detail in the effectiveness of the piece.

Gardening saturates my mind with natural shapes and patterns from which to draw.

Perhaps my work, which celebrates eating, drinking, and serving interesting dishes to friends and family, is a reflection of my Italian heritage. I do not believe in making "dust-catchers" -- my pottery slows you down to savor that amaretto. After all, the simple experiences of our lives can and should be filled with beautiful, sensual things.

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