I think I have always been a maker. A builder of decks and treehouses, a weaver, a painter, and a pretty good cook. In recent years this desire to create has led me to an intensive exploration of clay. Clay has over taken me. I am drawn to hand building as my primary method of making. From flat slabs of soft clay I love creating pieces with the natural curves, gestural forms and richly textured surfaces found in nature; the shape of a leaf recorded like a fossil in clay, the texture of the forest floor, ancient and rich, the ivory patina of old bones, reflected in the crafted object. Because all of my pieces are hand built rather than wheel thrown, the naturally occurring irregularities that happen with clay during firing add to the the organic, wabi-sabi feel of my functional ceramics.
My Porcelain Botanicals have become my signature work. While working with the clay to create a form, I impress leaves and flowers into the piece and use this natural material as a resist for a dark slip or glaze. The surface is then washed with color to create intaglio-like impressions in the highly contrasted work. Recently I developed a new method to create a matte surface on work that was previously glossy. I have also added more colorful, painted botanical designs to my collection of work. I am continuing to refine this new technique to achieve greater depth of surface through layering of glazes.
My modern graphic series is an outgrowth of that previous process. Rather than plant materials, hand-drawn stencils are used as a resist to create the glaze contrast. A water abrasion technique then removes some to the clay around the stencil and creates a raised texture on the clay surface. This gives a tactile as well as a visual experience when the piece is handled.
I also enjoy the opportunity to create wood fired and barrel fired work from time to time. These ancient techniques use the direct effect of the smoke and ash on the clay to create surfaces found nowhere else in ceramics.
The Village of Yellow Springs where I live and work is a community that has drawn many artists and one which has a great appreciation for the arts. One of the best things about being part of an arts community is the opportunity to be inspired, challenged and supported by the other artists in this creative group.
Dianne Collinson is the former Studio Director at John Bryan Community Pottery. In that role she initiated the creation of their gallery space and was instrumental in the wood kiln addition. She has taught hand building classes and workshops and has exhibited her work at regional juried art shows and art fairs, at DVAC and other area galleries. She works from her home studio in Yellow Springs which is open by appointment.