315 Johnson St., Santa Fe, New Mexico 87501
People often ask me how I got involved with clay. . .When did I start?
From the age of two I loved to play in the mud. I later worked for Sotheby’s Art Auction House in New York in the Chinese and Japanese division. From there I was asked to help run a private art foundation in Boston. These were fabulous professions, but creating my own art continues to be the most challenging, wild and rewarding life ever. My childhood love of mud has turned to white, silky smooth porcelain.
I shape my porcelain into classical forms from two inches to four feet high on the wheel. I gently manipulate the clay to create beautiful curves and swirls on my large scale vessels. Next comes my unique smoking and coloring techniques.
Most ceramic artists glaze their work but my passion is to smoke fire the porcelain with light tones and calligraphic notations derived from straw and pine needles to yield deep, dark carbons which soak into the vessel. As Julia Child and Nigella Lawson famously prepare their beautiful food, I too create my porcelains.
My portale has two grills – one for fillets – one for my pots fumés. My “cooking” table is filled with smokable organics, such as chile peppers, papers, wood shavings, banana peels, Ponderosa and Blue Spruce pine needles and a few secret ingredients. I ignite one combustible after another and watch the magic happen.
Should the piece need to be glamorous, I apply layers of oil color or 23 karat gold leaf. I’ll even have light emitting from the inside of my porcelain sculptural vessels. When the back of platter is gold leafed, it is a metaphore for the beauty and light inside us.
I also work in collaboration with other artists, particularly painters. A wonderful and famous trompe l’oeil oil painter I love to partner with is the Dutch master, Braldt Bralds. He lives here in Santa Fe and we create a few platters together each year. Braldt’s work has graced the covers of Time, Newsweek, Rolling Stone and Der Spiegel. He’s created images for stamps for the United Nations and the U.S. Postal Service and even been honored with the Cio award. People want to touch our platters to see if the “objects” are real or painted. Ah, to trick the eye – this is great art and great humor.
In 1996, I founded the Heidi Loewen Porcelain Gallery & School in Santa Fe. I teach ceramic wheel work & sculpture to folks of all ages. Classes can be private or in groups. No art experience needed. The only requirement is a good sense of humor!
Darlene Streit 505.920.8001
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