Melanie Unruh

As a visual artist, I seek to create a sense of community, a sense of connection through the aesthetics of form, color, and texture, and a shared experience of tactile aesthetics. When we express ourselves, we are also creating room for togetherness with others. I want to enrich our aesthetic environment. If I can touch others with my art, I consider that I have made a success. The question for me has never been if to create, but what mediums best meet my creative needs.

In ceramics, the artist creates and chemistry consummates.

My fascination with ceramics is that - initiated by the artist’s manipulation of the virtually limitless visual and tactile possibilities inherent in clay - it is arguably the most technical of the fine arts; a preternatural transmutation of clay, the chemistry of minerals and extreme heat, revealed from the kiln as an object of beauty and function.

Creating forms is just the beginning. Surface treatments determine the ultimate personality of my work, whether the piece is hand-built or wheel-thrown. I use rich textures to decorate the surfaces of my pieces, places where glazes can catch and flow around obstacles, the way water flows around rocks in a stream. Textures created with applied slips, stamps, and press and throwing marks fit the hand. My work juxtaposes organic and mechanical lines and textures, and uses concealed and revealed elements to create visual tension and appeal.

Most of my pottery is fired at very high temperatures in traditional wood-fired or salt-added kilns, using traditionally-inspired glazes that express themselves in serendipitous ways in these types of firing environments.