Thursday, March 1, 2018

Sunshine Clay

Hand Built Contemporary Fine Art Ceramic Vases & Vessels.
Large Scale Sculpted Pieces Inspired by Stories & Memories.

Artist: Bonnie Brushwood
Expertise: Ceramics
Additional Talents: Crafting, Entertainment
Materials: Clay, Hand Tools, Kiln, Glaze
Style: Large Scale, Abstract Ceramic Vessels
Inspiration: People, Memories & Stories
Common Creations: Abstract Vases & Decor
Shop Offline: Events Announced on Social Media
Social Media: [Facebook]  [Instagram]  [Twitter]
Home Base: Austin, TX
Spotted At: WEST Austin Studio Tour

In the world of ceramics, wheel thrown pottery gets a lot of attention for the beautiful, symmetrical results you can produce and the expertise required to do so. And yet, I feel like we don’t spend enough time highlighting the stunning hand built work of potters like Bonnie Brushwood of Sunshine Clay. Artists in this category need a different skill set to create the shapes they envision without the aid of motion. Bonnie’s pieces are especially noteworthy in their large size. Stability is as important as aesthetics so they don’t collapse before drying or shatter after firing. As such, Bonnie starts with a solid foundation and progressively builds up the sides, a little wet clay at a time. She shapes and smoothes to produce the desired texture. Her pieces are often more abstract in form, representing different qualities in her characteristic style. Some of her work is modeled after people she knows or memories. All of them require a second look to see both the piece as a whole and the hidden surprises like a hole to see inside and different colored glazes, often with a hint of metallic or opalescence. Most of the potters I mention make mostly functional pieces that happen to be beautiful as well, but Bonnie stands out as a true fine art ceramicist making gallery worthy pottery, fully driven by aesthetics. While you can see her style throughout, much of Bonnie’s collection can stand alone as statement pieces. Of course she also creates pairs that balance on one another as part of their meaning. It’s really neat to watch Bonnie work on her vessels, building them up taller and taller with each hunk of kneaded clay. You’ll sometimes find her kneeling on her work table for the best building angle. Every time I see Bonnie, she has a new unique piece with its own pop and flair. Kudos to her for finding and making a technique her own to produce fabulous fine art pottery!

Photography by Annie Winsett