Chelsea Zachary

Creativity has driven me all my life. When I was a child it expressed itself as a constant enthusiasm for life drawing, painting, sculpture, and mixed media. I continued exploring those interests at Nashville School of the Arts and later at Kansas City Art Institute in Missouri. Midway through pursuing my degree in painting the Great Recession hit, and I ended up returning home to enter the workforce and help my parents cover their mortgage. For years I was only able to engage my creative side by dabbling with stolen time in drawing, painting, and textile arts.

One fateful weekend in 2013, I took a trip out of town, during which I unearthed a previously undiscovered passion for ceramics during a brief visit to a potter’s studio. I immediately signed up for classes at Clay Lady Campus in my hometown of Nashville. One year later, I had my own studio.

From the beginning I knew that intricate surface design on clean and precise forms appealed most to my sensibilities. To this end I began experimenting with surface design and developing my signature sgraffito technique.

I usually begin by throwing a vessel on the wheel, trimming the bottom and then painting a layer of colored underglaze over the surface of the unfired clay. Next I selectively carve through the colored underglaze, exposing the clay underneath, forming textural surfaces of elaborate floral or geometric patterning. My experience as a painter is also constantly informing my current practice, with more and more colorful hand painted floral passages finding their way into my work.

I love how functional art lends meaning and depth to everyday life. To this end, I endeavor to create work that comes from my happiest memories and extends towards my favorite elements of people and places that are dear to me. I make purposeful, beautiful, functional, interactive work and take pride in every detail of my craftsmanship. My pieces are intended to be used, seen, and handled.

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