Susan Messer McBride

Caribbean Blue Bowl
porcelain, blue and clear glazes, fired to cone 10

Blue and White Platters
porcelain, cobalt blue slip, fired to cone 10

Hands touching clay, I am truly alive. Soul and spirit, body, connected. At dinner, I find inspiration in the serving wares before me and imagine replicating such forms, infusing each with new life. I appreciate how hand-made clay forms speak to us as we eat, drink, and view the world around us. This inspires me, at the wheel, where I am centered and connected to the Earth through clay, to create functional vessels that live and breathe.

I work primarily with porcelain because of its innate purity and potential for translucence or reflection. It’s the perfect canvas for splashes of glazes and slips that emulate the rich hues and movements found in our even more perfect natural world: A deep and tranquil Caribbean blue. Varying hues of grays and blues from a sunny or a cloudy sky. Burnt orange licks from flashes of heat and the oxygen levels inside the kiln. Glaze drips or pours become rivers rushing down the mountainside. Light carvings or impromptu stamps along with simple yet deliberate applications of slips or glazes intersect in the kiln, completing the transformation I anticipate.

The time I spend with my hands immersed in clay bears an inverse relationship to the amount of time I spend using modern technology. Through clay work, glaze application, and the firing process, I can appreciate the randomness of our natural world. There I move away from seeking perfection, toward anticipating and embracing serendipity.

© Susan Messer McBride