Paulette Esrig, AdagioI think of my recent work in clay as combining the motion, rhythm and dynamics of both music and dance to produce purely sculptural forms. References to nature are implied and abstracted.

I usually begin my work constructing cylinders of varying dimensions. I have a feeling or rough idea for a form I wish to make. I then decide how I can bend and manipulate the clay to show motion. I stretch the clay pushing from the inside and adding or cutting the form, keeping in mind it is movement I wish to convey. I work intuitively until I have reached my goal of an integrated work.

Clay objects have been one of the oldest forms of artistic expression and for my surfaces I use one of the oldest forms of treating surfaces–terra sigillata. While I am constructing my sculpture the surface and its finish are always in my mind as they are part of my vision.

I do not always burnish terra sigillata as I prefer the porous surface of the infused clay. The clay I use is heavily combined with grog, small pellets of fired clay, allowing me to take risks in handling the clay. At times I scrape the clay and pull the grog along. At other times I scrape the clay after an application of terra sigillata. I do burnish at times if I want to produce contrasting textures which are then enhanced by the application of minerals such as a black copper wash on the surface. These are partially wiped off to accentuate the surface. On the other hand, the interiors of my work are often glazed not only to provide further contrast but also to remind the viewer that there is an inner structure to the piece.