The Gift of Ceramics

Categories: ASC, Blog, Community Supported Art

By Amy Bareham
Cultural & Community Investment Intern

Allison Luce.
Allison Luce.

It is rare to stumble across an art journey as rich as Allison Luce’s. First introduced to creativity through art classes as a child, Luce found her parents were completely supportive of her interests, and so, after a brief stint as a biology major, she received BFAs in Art History and Painting from Ohio University.

Soon, her work’s trajectory shifted.

“I realized that I really like to build things,” she said. “So I started working with ceramics. I like to create objects outside of the rectangle.”

Clay provided numerous opportunities for Luce, who became a studio artist at Clayworks in 2006. Her time there enabled her to join the Charlotte art scene and ingratiated her into the creating community at large.

She also gained international exposure through residencies in Denmark and Germany. Just outside of Copenhagen in a small coastal town, Luce spent significant time studying the marine life.

“We were about a 10 minute bike ride away from the beach, so we would go to the beach regularly and that’s how I started the project Ancient Expanse,” she explained. “That whole project and that kind of series of work has evolved from 2009 and that was influenced by traveling specifically to Denmark.”

Her Germany chapter was spent primarily in Berlin, where Luce fell in love with a plethora of museums and became inspired by graffiti.

“My work,” she said, “became a lot brighter and it just changed based on my environment.”

Luce has also been playing with color and a series style for fall 2014 Arts & Science Council (ASC) Community Supported Art (CSA) shareholders. An offshoot of her Serpent Tree series, the pieces are intricate and involved.

“Each piece starts off with a slab of clay and then I texture them,” she said. “Then I roll them into tubes and then I fire them. I make the piece, let it dry, fire it, underglaze it, put oxides on it, fire it again, and put on final paints and stains.

“Because the work is so process oriented, it really took basically from July until when I finished last week.”

Even a lengthy assemblage process hasn’t crushed Luce’s creative spirit.

An example of Allison Luce's work.
An example of Allison Luce’s work.

“I saw a big difference from the progression,” she said. “I think the work really came into its own, especially towards the end, and became its own project in its own right.”

Most unique about these CSA pieces is that Luce fired them using a kiln purchased with a 2012 ASC grant.

“I appreciate that kind of support,” she shared, citing the ASC as a major help in fostering creativity.

Look out for Luce teaching at Mitchell Community College, exhibiting, and selling artwork through her Etsy shop! Click here to see her gallery.