exhibition calendar

about the gallery


May 10 - June 10, 2005

Paula Brown-Steedly, Vase Paula Brown-Steedly, Bowl Paula Brown-Steedly, Vase

I have always been drawn to the power of the mountains and the sea,
and the drama of the changing seasons.
As I travel through life, the simple things, like fields and forests or beaches and oceans,
evoke breath taking beauty.
In my work I attempt to capture the timeless appeal,
the moments and perhaps the memories that one cannot hold onto,
the fleeting nature of this life, this place, and this time.
For me, the practical nature of the forms as vessels
enhances the visual presence.
The tenacity of clay coupled with its grace, and fluidity, allows boldness and energy.
The irregularities that time bestows on things are tranquil, serene,
and fleeting;
achieved by nature through a natural process.
My pieces reveal the passage of time,
the power of the sea, the changing tide, the spiraling waves, the warmth of the sun,
the force of the wind, and the falling rain,
as I see it in nature.

Paula Brown-Steedly          


I developed my own clay body to accommodate the immediate and intense ways I work with my varied combinations of forming techniques. Wheel thrown, slab construction, wheel thrown and altered, and slab draping are my methods. Emphasizing the malleable qualities of the medium, I let the clay suggest the final outcome. The materials are nontoxic, and many of the finishes are matte. The stoneware body is resilient, coarse, and rich brown to buff maturing at 2380 degrees ( cone 10 ). After the firing, wood base or backs are sometimes attached to the forms. The resulting pieces are functional sculpture, serving as both vessel forms and visual presences. A life long resident of Virginia, I call my studio Virginia Clay. Clay forms are the signature of time, leaving traces - images - impressions of man and culture for present and future visual exploration.

The studio is located north east of Charlottesville, Virginia in a small area called Stony Point. We are at the base of the South Western Mountains to the east. Through the trees you can see the Blue Ridge Mountains to the west. It is rural, but becoming the suburbs. This is a small farm, the main crop is hay. There is a half acre pond with the fields in grazing land. We are Ahorse consumers@, which means we don=t make income from our 4 horses. We have 4 Labradors and 2 cats,@rodent warriors@. Next to us is a 400 acre cow farm where we are allowed to ride. Most of the land on this farm is left natural with the cows to clean up in the forest. The forest has not been timbered. My studio and life setting is my inspiration.

The studio space is connected to the house by a deck with rock gardens in the back yard. The studio space moved from the 10'x10' room of the house in 1985. I got heat in 1988. The studio space is a Asalt box ,@ 22'x25'. It is bermmed into a bank so that the upstairs is even with the house, while the downstairs is open to the fields and the mountains. I work downstairs. The kiln shed is 12' behind the studio. Upstairs is office, photographing, and storage. I reach this space by a dumb waiter. The wet work is executed by myself with a great deal of assistance and support from my husband. As a prior custom cabinet maker, he also helps with wood finishing.

I have actively worked in clay since 1973. The majority of my formal education was in the South. I worked in Tennessee-ETSU, North Carolina- Penland School, and Louisiana-LSU. I also apprenticed with a production potter and did workshops. After graduate school, I was involved in a family wholesale business for 18 years. This business background gave me a valuable foundation. After completion of my studio space in 1988, I was better able to concentrate on creative aspects of working. On October 12, 1995, I became a full time artisan.