Heather Cruce

Artist Statement

I have pursued an intense study of sculptural work in the medium of ceramic. My recent goals were to create large-scale ceramic installations. Theses installations are comprised of many ceramic pieces I meticulously sculpted and carved to reference the fragility, beauty and finite existence of the human body as it relates to earthly landscapes. My aim has been to imbue an exhibition space with a sense of reverence and ambiguity, allowing the viewer of the large scaled installed work to experience the work independent of direction. I deliberately and painstakingly construct my sculptures to look as if they came from the earth, that is, wood that has been weathered, stone-like fossils that show debris and pigment, aged bone, creating visual evidence of time on earth.

In this quest for these ceramic installations, my work has taken me on a lovingly, but labor-intensive journey of trial and error, failure and then ultimate success. I consider the works I create for an audience to be visual solutions to the challenges I set in my art practice. I believe one of the challenges of making long-term installation works require a type of honesty and dedication within myself. For example, one of my solo exhibitions, Drift, required ten months of work from it’s conception to exhibition. I was able to commit to such a work because of the type of grounding and foundation I set in my practice. This draws on being self-critical with the things I was most fearful about as an artist and person. I allow myself to consciously live with these fears in order to better understand the physical spaces I am creating for an audience. I have to accept my own vulnerability. I experiment, play, and create objects in order to offer the chance of an experience. I work to expand my visual vocabulary while examining my existing vocabulary.

Outside of my personal studio time and practice I have actively participated in a larger art community. Setting forth a different type of dedication, I am committed to championing the ceramic arts and its possible impacts on individuals. In addition to teaching and volunteering, I have hosted and co-hosted ceramic making events to get clay into as many people’s hands as possible. I have an endless passion for ceramic arts. I believe ceramic art is perhaps one of the most diverse mediums a person can be exposed to. It is a hands-on opportunity being both physically and conceptually engaging. Clay’s tactile quality is easy to relate to. It’s three-dimensional medium records one’s movements, one can see potential immediately. Clay goes through a firing process where there is an opportunity for realization that one’s intelligence and intentions do have a place in society. It is a visual reminder of creativity and possibilities.

-- Heather Cruce


Heather M. Cruce is a ceramic sculptor born and raised in California. She received her Bachelors of Arts at California State University Humboldt with an emphasis in ceramic sculpture, film and video studies, and museum and gallery studies. Her art practice brought her to the east coast where she intensely studied ceramic sculpture at State University New York Stony Brook achieving her Masters of Fine Arts. Cruce has widely exhibited her work on the East and West Coasts. Accolades include being the recipient of the Martin Wong Foundation Scholarship in Ceramic Arts and the Goldberger Fellowship for Dedication to Fine Arts. She currently lives and works in California.