Showing in Gallery One11: Portholes | Kathryn Somers
When people first see my work, they frequently ask “what is it?” You may be experiencing a similar curiosity right now. My general response is to ask back “what do you see?” Fundamentally, my pieces are beaded textiles that have been woven into a ceramic loom frame, but for me they are so much more than that. Each one is my attempt to recreate my impression of something - a place, object, flower, memory or idea - weaving the combined textures and colors of the clay, fibers and beads into a porthole that can take you wherever your imagination leads. If you are wondering about the inspirations, you will find that many of the pieces in this room have a QR code which will provide you with more information. If you see something different I would love to know; there is a place to leave a comment.
Kathryn Somers combines clay, fiber and beads to capture the suggested essence of a place or object. From a young age she has traveled to many places around the world, and now many of her memories from those travels inspire the themes of her pieces. Introduced to pottery in High School, she had been a periodic hobby potter for nearly 30 years, until 2018 when she was able to stop working 9-5 and finally focus on her pottery full time. While her focus had been on the functionality of each piece - finding beauty in an object’s purpose and use - in the Autumn of 2018 she tried combining clay, strings and beads to create something entirely new. A self-taught weaver she benefitted from not knowing the “rules” and experimented to create a style that is unique to her. Beginning with a simple ring, thrown on her pottery wheel, Kathryn creates what will become the skeleton of each piece - the loom as it is being woven is then transformed into the frame of the final completed work. Using fibers and beads with a variety of mathematical formulations she weaves and recreates the swirls, waves, spirals and rings that are so often found in nature. The contrast between the clay and weaving steps help to create innovations in a piece; a creative idea to change an element in one process often requires a technical update to the other.
Kathryn makes her pieces at her home in Dalton, GA. She is a member of the Georgia Clay Council and has exhibited in galleries in Dalton, GA, Ellijay, GA, Chattanooga, TN and Wilmington, IL. Her pieces are in private collections throughout the United States, as well as Canada and the United Kingdom. Her work can be viewed online at louloupottery.com.
Located in Dalton, GA, Kathryn finds herself spending time in her homebased pottery studio while also juggling being a mom to a fabulously active – and equally talented – daughter and wife to her hard-working and loving husband.
Clay is possibility. It can be beautiful or functional. It starts with an idea and becomes something permanent.
I started working with clay over 30 years ago and it brings me as much joy now as it did then. And to have someone say they still have a bowl or mug I made for them is incredibly satisfying. Art with purpose and function which also holds memories.
While the clay and fiber pieces I currently create may not be functional, there is power in its beauty. I’m personally drawn to art that makes you want to get up close and marvel at the details. I’m inspired by locations, by the emotional memories of places I’ve been, how the colors create a mood and I am drawn to use this as my main inspiration in my pieces.
I moved from practical to purely aesthetic when I made a birthday present for my sister. Once that project was completed, I was moved to explore other possibilities. Each piece becomes a riddle to solve. A new technique. A new texture. A new color combination. Evolution and change. Onward and upward. Experimenting has led to creating something that purposefully evokes an emotional reaction, a memory, an inspiration.
Pottery allows me to put something of myself out into the world. As an introvert, I find this is the best way of expressing myself. I’ve been inspired greatly by my parents, both creative in their own ways. I was constantly encouraged to share my creativity with others.
Artist, artisan, handcrafter, craftsman, each word evokes a different sentiment and a different feeling. Quality differences, intentional differences, interpretational differences. I’m not sure I would consider myself an artist. I’m not a crafter either. I’m a potter. However, now that I’m including other materials, even potter feels limiting. When you see yourself differently, you act, think and behave differently.
It’s a compulsion for me at this point. I have ideas – many ideas – and I am driven to make each of them a reality.