Using mostly my own photographs, I continually experiment with transfer techniques and decals to layer images and patterns in multiple firings. The results are spontaneous narratives that are both specifically personal to me yet present an ambiguity in the fused overlapping elements that are open to interpretation. Many of my photographs are taken while driving, without aiming or composing the image. The result is a kind of graphic sampling of narrative patterns, instead of pictures of specific things or places. Often I am surprised by the unplanned compositions.
Working in layers allows me to address moving between different realities: being in liminal space. I grew up between two cultures and this has underscored my feeling of always being in between, encountering disparate elements and realities everywhere. In this space I draw on images from my experience; places, people and elements that have been important to me as well as emotionally neutral features of the natural and man-made world around me. My ceramic work has allowed me to pull these disintegrating pieces together into personal and abstracted narratives.
I purposely make distressed slab constructions, with rough edges and areas that will crack, to let the clay do what it does. I work with what happens in the ceramic process, adapting to rather than imposing my will on what comes out of each firing.
Being in nature is an essential element in my life and work. I feel a sense of comfort when I am in the open empty spaces of the mountains and desert; an intimacy with the potentially perilous landscape. It reminds me that I too am part of the transitory existence in surroundings that have existed for seemingly forever.
— Catherine Schmid-Maybach