Friday, September 19, 2014

The Ceramic Art of Carolina Niebres

Art fairs are a great way to see a wide range of art in a short amount of time and to meet new artists. I met Carolina Niebres at the Bayfront Art Fair in mid-August. Because I liked her work I asked if I could share it here and she consented to this interview.

EN: How did you get started in ceramics?
CN: I actually started in 7th grade making sculptures. I always wanted to do more but did not get back to it until 1999 after I had a health incident that made me realize that life is too short not to do the things that I want to do.

EN: Where were you trained?
CN: I started and continue to take classes at the Edina Art Center. I had my first Friday night beginner class in January 1999. I still take classes there and also help with firing, glaze mixing and other things. It is a great facility to learn as much as you are ready for. I have also gone to classes and workshops by other potters like Bob Briscoe, Ellen Shankin, Ian Currie, Robin Hopper, Robbie Lobell, Simon Levin, etc.

EN: Where have you been showing your work?
CN: I mainly do art fairs but have a few galleries. Iowa Artisans Gallery - Iowa City, IA; Gallery 319 and Octagon Gallery - Ames, IA; Edina Art Center - Edina, MN; Minnetonka Center for the Arts - Minnetonka, MN. Hopefully more to come.

EN: Where does your inspiration come from?
CN: Some of my designs come from the plants in my yard. I also love tribal tattoos from the Pacific Islands with all their intricate lines following and accentuating the lines of the body. My shapes come from observing natural curves; however, some of my new forms have been more geometric.

EN: Any up-coming shows?
CN: Yes, you can find them at my site:

EN: Do you have a website or somewhere we can see your work online?
CN: My site is listed above. My more current work can be found on my facebook photos and here.

EN: Is there anything especially unique in how you create?
CN: Besides my designs, I do fire my pottery by adding a mixture of baking soda, sawdust, and water for the last few hours of firing. The baking soda circulates in the atmosphere of the kiln and falls on the pots very randomly. This adds additional variation and movement to each piece by possibly changing the glaze color and also flashing and creating a thin glaze which can build up to have an orange peel texture. This required extra work in the preparation, firing and clean up but the effects for me are worth all the extra work!

EN: When did you realize you were going to be serious about art?
CN: About 2 years after my first class, I found that I was making more and more and want to learn more! I knew then that I need to not just give away my work but actually sell it so that I could do more. A group of us decided to have annual holiday sales. I found that I really liked doing shows and interacting with clients and started doing juried shows. It just progressed from there.

EN: What are you working on now that has you jazzed?
CN: I am continuing to explore shapes out of round in all different forms: pitcher, bowls, mugs, tumblers, bottles, etc. I am working on "twisted" square or triangular forms that just have flashing on the exterior. I don't have many yet. I still also love working on new patterns as well as old favorites that are very meditative to create like my spirals and spiral trees.

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Quick note here: If you are in any way able, be sure to check our Remigio Bello's art opening, Northland-Southland at Trepanier Hall, tonight at 5:30. Trepanier Hall is the former YWCA located at 202 West 2nd Street in downtown Duluth.

Meantime... enjoy your weekend. If able, go out of your way to see or do something creative. 

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