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ARTIST STATEMENT and BIO
The current direction for my ceramic artwork is inspired by the marvelous forms and surfaces of vintage metal containers, whose aged appearances evoke imagined narratives from their working and playing lives.
Whatever the container’s original purpose, the design, use, misuse and discarding of each one is a unique saga of industry, entropy and revival which I aim to express.
I form my pieces by hand, asking the clay to curl and cantilever further than it likes, emphasizing the aspects of material construction that are inherently different from pottery. I seek the ductile seaming of tin-work, the details of screws and spot-welds, and the gravity-defying extensions of wires, spouts and handles.
The serviceably-used appearance of dents, drips, and rust - always rust! – inform my built-up and painterly surfaces, helping them look as if they happened over time rather than were fabricated.
The words and imagery used to brand and promote a product’s features and benefits also come into play. I am amused by the straightforward guilelessness of package design from years ago and use it to springboard to invented new meanings.
My pieces end up as both sculptural interpretations and usable vessels, a vitally important aspect to me. I desire these re-imagined relics to have new lives, recalling a humble past, but embodying an artful and unlimited present.
Liz Crain is a ceramic artist who creates colorful hand-formed vessels and sculptures. Her works contain expressive shapes, trompe l’oeil surfaces and playful narratives. While she employs a variety of surface treatments, she especially favors distressed and matte finishes.
She currently exhibits in local, regional and state competitions, events and venues.
She is a juried Exhibiting Member of the Association of Clay and Glass Artists of California, Santa Cruz Clay, and the Pajaro Valley Arts Council. Each October she usually participates in the Arts Council Santa Cruz County Open Studios Art Tour.
She is represented by The Gallery Shop at the Palo Alto Art Center in Palo Alto, CA, Many Hands Gallery in Capitola, CA, and Roscoe Ceramics Gallery in Oakland, CA. Her work can be found internationally in many private collections and in the Permanent Collection of the Long Beach Museum of Art.
Liz was a decade-long volunteer Teaching Assistant in the Ceramics Department at Cabrillo College, Aptos, CA. She assisted with designing, creating and installing the college’s exhibits at the annual California Conference for the Advancement of Ceramic Art held in Davis, CA every spring as well as guided the creation of several pieces of ceramic public art installed on campus, most notably a large free-form mosaic bench in use daily.
A student of human nature, visual culture and the creative process, Liz has a BS in Sociology but went on (a bit backwards, perhaps) to obtain both an AA in Studio Art and another in Art History. She also holds a Certificate in Fine Art from UC Santa Cruz. She has studied with over 25 noted ceramics instructors and professionals, including Coeleen Kiebert, Kathryn McBride, Una Mjurka, Gail Ritchie, Tiffany Schmierer, and Cynthia Siegel.
Liz was born in Newport News, VA, but became a lifelong Californian at the age of five. She has lived in both the San Fernando and Santa Clara (Silicon) Valleys, spent the 1980s in the Sierra foothills in Amador County, and currently lives a half mile from the Monterey Bay in Capitola.