Red stoneware, slip, underglazes, rutile oxide, white glaze, multiple firings
"Early mornings in the studio are my meditation time. I often listen to poetry and sometimes I hear a combination of words that become visual for me. Mary Oliver was reciting one of her poems when she mentioned, “Oh, white angel,” which was a reference to an owl. These words haunted me for a year or more until one day I started a piece and the owl appeared. Thinking of Oliver’s words, I decided the piece should be in whites. I have always thought of the owl as the caretaker of the night. The owl dominates and creates the strength in this piece. As I worked, I really just wanted the owl—but the figure kept appearing. My figures are often partial self-portraits. Through the figure I can speak and share my thoughts and concerns. I want to create a mystery in the figure that might result in questions. I am honest with my work—striving to tell my story, my narrative and my truth. I work intuitively with wet red clay and allow forms to appear and stories to develop. In each sculpture I am searching for the spiritual core—to allow the work to speak." Debra Fritts earned a BFA in art from the University of Tennessee, Knoxville, with continuing graduate studies in ceramic sculpture, painting and printmaking. She has received national recognition for her work through exhibitions, awards and gallery representation. Her work is held in many private collections and has been published widely. She teaches master classes and workshops throughout the United States.