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Theresa Cullen's Profile

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Having not been trained in the fine arts, I have only my love for clay, dating from nearly forty years ago, to explain why I have become a ceramic lamp maker. When I purchased my first piece of pottery, a mug from a local potter, I casually signed up for classes she taught at her house, thinking I could always back out with one excuse or another. But when she called me weeks later and asked me to join her class, I really couldn't come up with an excuse. It was what I wanted to do; more than anything else, I wanted to try to make something out of clay, something functional and something beautiful. I was a college English teacher, trained to use my head; now I wanted to use my hands as well.

After years of making cups and bowls and plates and all things practical, I have fallen in love with making lamps. It started with one of my children wanting a small lamp for a specific place in her house…

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  • Female
  • Joined September 4, 2013

About

Having not been trained in the fine arts, I have only my love for clay, dating from nearly forty years ago, to explain why I have become a ceramic lamp maker. When I purchased my first piece of pottery, a mug from a local potter, I casually signed up for classes she taught at her house, thinking I could always back out with one excuse or another. But when she called me weeks later and asked me to join her class, I really couldn't come up with an excuse. It was what I wanted to do; more than anything else, I wanted to try to make something out of clay, something functional and something beautiful. I was a college English teacher, trained to use my head; now I wanted to use my hands as well.

After years of making cups and bowls and plates and all things practical, I have fallen in love with making lamps. It started with one of my children wanting a small lamp for a specific place in her house. What I realized was that I loved this lamp after I completed the base, had it wired, and found a great lampshade, and I didn't want to give it up.

It is about the glazes, I think, more than anything else. When they are under light, they come alive. When I turn my lamps on at night, I love the glow, and the rooms that they are in become warmer and lovelier somehow. It simply is a matter of function and beauty combining to make a statement.

My lamps have very simple shapes because I want the colors to dominate. All of the glazes are cone 10, which means they are fired at an extremely high heat. At that temperature the colors become deeper and richer and one of a kind. I can't exactly duplicate any of them because so many variables come into play: the thickness or thinness of the glaze when applied, the amount and timing of the oxygen reduction as the kiln fires, the location of the pot inside the kiln as it fires, and on and on. As I said, one of a kind. . . .

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