Friday, February 12, 2016
Out of the Comfort Zone by Jennifer Hahn
For every artist, stepping out of one’s comfort zone and attempting a new medium, technique, or process is important. It can cause us to see with fresh eyes, open up new dialogue within our work, and challenge our abilities in order to learn.
Such was the case for me last summer, 2015, when I attended for the first time a week-long workshop hosted by Cullowhee Mountain Arts at the Bardo Fine Arts Center on the campus of Western Carolina University.
I paint in oils, and I will always be a “painter” but I discovered on Pinterest the clay figurative sculpture of the talented artist Debra Fritts. I was instantly drawn to the story-telling aspect of her figures, and the deep symbolism in each. The surfaces of her pieces are comprised of gorgeous layers upon layers with fearless combinations of engobe, slip, stain, and glaze that seem more painterly than most clay surfaces I have seen.
I wanted to learn from this artist. Looking up her website, I discovered that Debra was leading this workshop for Cullowhee Mountain Arts. I could hardly sign up fast enough! After reading her story and discovering that she is also a painter who brings her painterly style to her figures, I knew it would be good for me to take a step into the previously unknown to me world of clay. It was the right choice.