Handbuilt Contemporary Ceramic Art

Washington, D.C.

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Reprise Bottle

Reprise Bottle


Catherine Satterlee

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Catherine Satterlee


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About CSatterleeCeramics

Sales 83
On Etsy since 2014

Ceramics at full tilt!

One of the qualities of ceramics that I love most is the accessibility: in each object there seems to be an invitation to touch and hold it. Unlike paintings and sculpture that stand apart as Art, there is a warmth in clay that reaches out, even if the object is sitting on a pedestal in a museum with a do not touch sign: Whether the object is functional or not, it asks to be held.

After being introduced to ceramics in college, I worked in the contemporary art and design worlds in painting, interior design, graphic design, exhibition design and installation, and spent only a few years in ceramics. Once I retired as Exhibitions Coordinator at the Arlington Arts Center, my first thought was to get involved with ceramics again. It feels like home; and the awareness of the limited amount of time left in my life to work with clay lends a delicious urgency to my labors. I now work at the Lee Arts Center in Arlington VA, where I was accepted as a member of the Open Studios Program.

For some ceramists, the glaze is the most fascinating part of the process: for me, the earthiness of clay is very appealing, so I tend to leave a lot of my surfaces unglazed. And the slower, more labor-intensive handbuilding techniques, like coil and slab construction, are more satisfying to me than throwing on a wheel. Many of my pieces are made from slabs: Clay is rolled out like a pie crust and allowed to stiffen. It is still malleable enough to carve, but rigid enough to hold its own in a vertical position. To assemble slab sections, adjoining edges are scored and coated with slip (liquid clay), then pressed firmly together and very slowly dried. I tend to leave evidence of the building process rather than smooth edges and seams.

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  • Catherine Satterlee

    Owner, Creator

    My working life has centered on contemporary art—in graphic design, in painting, in exhibits design at the Hirshhorn, and now in ceramics. I live in Washington DC and my studio is across the river in Arlington VA at the Lee Arts Center.

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