Beth Armour | Master Ceramist
I came to art at a young age. I explored a variety of mediums before discovering clay and the pottery wheel in high school. There was no turning back. In college I studied pottery and anthropology, which increased my interest in artifacts and instruments of daily use. My studies focused on the aesthetic and cultural significance of Yoruba art of West Africa. My travels to Ghana, Africa gave me the opportunity to visit many local potters and artisans. Later, I apprenticed with master potter Malcolm Wright which led to my interest in Japanese aesthetics.
I started my career as a production potter, but my interest in vessels, particularly as cultural and functional forms, grew. I soon realized the artistic possibilities of vessels that transcended serving as containers and receptacles. I saw them as forms that reflected space yet intimacy, interior and exterior harmony, and unique structural pieces of art. Those possibilities inspire my work today.
My pieces are stand-alone contemplative works. They allow form to flourish without the use of highly decorative surface elements. I am intrigued with the Japanese idea of beauty and strive to bring this quality of understated elegant simplicity to my work. I am drawn to surfaces that appear to become part of the piece. A well-used African cooking pot or the surface of tarnished bronze or rusted metal embody the patina that speaks to a certain spiritual beauty only possible with time. I often use black-and-white accentuations that allow a certain illumination to become part of the work in an integral way.