Whitney Smith’s relationship with clay began in 1994 during her first wheel-throwing class at Cabrillo College in Santa Cruz.
“I had an instant rapport with clay, and I spent my first years as a potter single-mindedly pursuing a mastery and understanding of my new love,” said Smith.
Born in Moses Lake, Washington, Whitney Smith spent many of her early years on her family’s farm.
At an early age, she developed a love for landscapes and all things that grow outdoors. During that time, watercolors and crayons were are medium of choice.
Over the years, Smith grew here intense interest and love of pottery, leading to pursue a career in ceramic art.
In 2000, Smith opened her own studio in Oakland.
“With ceramics, I have always been driven to strive for perfection in forms, decoration, and glazing. I never questioned the logic of this approach until the past few years, when I started noticing how the quest for perfection actually drained the joy out of my creative process,” Smith commented, “I began to have an urge to mess up my surface decorations that I labored over, to scratch it up and give it some depth of character. Untethering myself from a ridiculous, impossible, and unworthy standard– perfection– gave me a new freedom to explore and make things that were not only not perfect, but maybe even a little decayed looking. In doing this, I am able to redefine beauty for myself and my artwork.”
Smith’s work has been shown and collected across the United States, as well as internationally. She has been featured in DIY magazine, Martha Stewart Magazine, Sunset Magazine, Modern Bridal and many more.
In addition to her one-of-a-kind work, she makes a production line that is sold in boutiques throughout the country and also designs a line under her own name that is produced overseas. Smith has been invited to be an artist-in-residence in Japan and France.
“My goal as an artist is simple: to make items that are functional, absolutely beautiful, and a part of everyday life,” said Smith.
The exhibit featured at the Colusa County Arts Council, 430 Market Street, in Colusa, will feature Smiths latest work.
“When I am creating these pieces, I am thinking of the layers of paint that is built up over the years on walls in public and private spaces. Beautiful things may be painted or layered on the walls, but it is eventually covered over,” said Smith, “However, exposed to the right elements, the paint may peel or be pulled away, revealing the layers and the decayed beauty of colors and pattern.
These pieces are an exploration of layering colors and design, texturing through scratching and rubbing away, making something beautiful through ‘ruining’ it or making it look decayed.”
The artist reception will be held on Friday, April 10, 2015 from 5 PM to 7 PM.