JOANN CASSADY, Ceramic Sculptor
As an artist, my life has gone full circle. After art school and a career in commercial graphics, I left the industry to follow my heart back to early childhood, playing in the backyard, squishing mud pies through my fingers. This time around, clay has replaced the mud but the pleasure I get from holding the earth in my hands is just the same. And with the clay has come a passion for a firing technique called “Raku” which in Japanese means, “pleasure” or “enjoyment”.
For the past twelve years I have traveled to Mexico to study pottery with Juan Quezada, considered a National Living Treasure in his country. Working with Juan and my many other friends in the pueblo of Mata Ortiz has been a wonderful learning experience. I have discovered new methods of working with clay using only the most basic of tools and from these experiences, grown steadily as an artist. Even more than that, however, getting to know the Mata Ortiz community has been the cultural event of a lifetime. More recently I have been able to work collaboratively with Jerardo Tena, who is one of the finest painters in the pueblo. Annually I sponsor him and together we give workshops sharing the techniques of Mata Ortiz with colleges, art centers and community centers around the Bay Area.
Now I look for what I can do next and challenge myself to create something different today than I did yesterday. I’m drawn to create shapes that are simple and elegant and in their simplicity, capture your eye’s attention. Then, in contrast, are my whimsical Raku Fish, each one an original and each one with it’s own personality sure to bring a smile to your face.
My pieces are all original, all made by hand using coils of clay and pinching techniques and then fired by Raku or Pit Firing techniques. Molds are not used in my process and there are no short cuts. The clay and the process can be unforgiving, even humbling at times, and not all pieces reach the intended end. But when they do, the magic in that moment is the inspiration that drives the process and fuels my passion to do it again. It’s a joy.
Joann Cassady • Whimsical & Sculptural Raku & Pit Fired Ceramics
245 Theresa Court, Healdsburg, CA 95448 • 707 431-8319 • www.imakepots.com