Kate’s work is heavily influenced by traditional vessel forms. She decorates each piece with stylized motifs that originate from the flora around her studio and property. These motifs reference Art Deco imagery and she works to modify them to create beautiful and repeatable patterns. All of Kate’s forms are thrown and trimmed on the wheel and a thick layer of colored slip is applied to the form. When the piece is leather hard she begins to carve through the slip creating the visual patterns and motifs. This process requires a sure hand as the slip cannot be replaced so each mark must be made with care and certainty. Then she overlays ash glaze on selected elements of the pattern to give it depth.
Using only locally sourced clay Kate’s work is single fired. This process is challenging in several ways, requiring the artist to be more in touch with the clay; slips and glazes cannot be added too soon or too late. Firing the work is also challenging as the ware must be taken more slowly through the earliest stage of the fire to allow for the piece to completely dry out and to avoid any cracking.
Kate fires her large wood-fired kiln only a few times a year. This process requires careful planning. Loading and making work to fill the kiln is a special kind of dance. Only so many of the large jars that she makes using a technique of throwing and adding coils can fit into each kiln. Smaller jars, pitchers, mugs and sugar bowls are loaded around the large jars. Using only three slips in her decoration, the packing of the kiln influences the finished pots and the placement in the kiln showcases the variation and diversity of what happens when a slip interacts with the path of the flame and ash.
Kate began assisting a en plein air painter as an elementary school student, developing her love for the natural world and specifically studying plant life. At the age of 14, she changed mediums and talked her way into Wheaton Arts and Cultural Center’s pottery studio. She assisted for 2 years and was then hired as a potter. Kate went on to earn a BFA in Art and Design from Alfred University. Kate shows her pots, lectures, and teaches throughout the USA.