Ruth Easterbrook

Artist Statement

My ceramic art is an active participant in the coming together of people, sharing and the enjoyment of food. Eating a beautifully prepared meal creates a celebration. I make pieces of service and, I make interaction. Decisions in design facilitate containing, presenting and service in the daily lives of others. Detailed surface enhances the importance of moment—attentive handling that leads to discovery and pleasure. Floral motifs are inspired by the wildflowers of Northern California where I grew up on a ranch. I was raised to be in-tune with the seasons, searching and waiting for the appearance of flowers year after year. Surfaces are built from stylized motifs and carry with them memories of place and time. Objects made by humankind throughout history continue to give me perspective about my place in the on-going story of shaping earth into vessels for food, celebration and ritual. In October 2017 my home and studio were lost in the “Redwood Valley Complex Fires”. The entire community was devastated. In the aftermath of the destruction I reflected on my role as a maker of objects. My abilities to make and build upon the skills I have gained through experience are the source of my power in rebuilding and make new.

Through the process of building with a variety of techniques (wheel, slab, mold) my decisions as maker are impacted by the different touch and speed each method requires. My forms embody generosity and communicate utility that welcomes interaction and use. Often, I fall in love with the soft dewy surface of the leather hard pot, chasing silky matte glazes that recapture a similar sheen. Using a palette of glazes from matte to glossy I map out the decoration with the intent of collaborating with the firing to flux and move glaze across surfaces. I welcome happenstance and embrace the power of fire as it transforms wet earth to rock and ground rocks to a multitude of glazes.

-- Ruth Easterbrook

Bio

Ruth Easterbrook (b. 1984) has always enjoyed the process of working with clay, first discovering it as a sophomore in high school, captivated by the magical transformation of wet clay to bowl and then the lasting effects that take place within the firing and glazes. She creates pottery with the idea of interactive art; that they will become part of the sharing, presentation and pleasures of food. In her work she investigates form, surface and their supportive relationship. Building slopes, handles and walls that set up decoration, then layering or masking glazes to create depth and atmosphere. Influenced by the subtleties of nature and the wealth of floral pattern throughout history, Ruth applies a range of floral motifs bringing summer blooms to the table.

She received her BFA in Ceramics from Syracuse University in 2007. After she apprenticed and assisted various ceramic artists and studios. She has shown work nationally at places such as Baltimore Clayworks and Carbondale Clay Center. A turning point in her personal growth took place while participating in an eight-week concentration at Penland School of Craft in 2014. Anderson Ranch Arts Center has been an important place of learning for Ruth, spending extensive time there are student, then summer intern and returning as the Artist in Residence in 2016. Most recently she earned her MFA in ceramics at Alfred University in 2019. Currently Ruth is the Artist in Resident at Harvard University Office of the Arts.

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