I’m originally from Indiana but moved to the Chicagoland area in 2001 with my family. Throughout school, I was given the opportunity to use a variety of mediums, all of which I enjoyed, but in college I decided to pursue a BFA in Illustration from Northern Illinois University. Although I enjoyed drawing and animation, I couldn’t keep my hands out of clay, and took several clay classes while there. Following graduation, after a year in Madison Wiscon, I spent several years in Chicago at Lillstreet Art Center where I began to lay my foundation for a ceramic career. I am now proudly an Artist in Residence at the Morean Center for Clay in Saint Petersburg Florida.
Using characters I create narratives that are the reactions I have to loss, the desire for connection, and the search for more. My hope is that the functional work I make is used by their owners, and the tales have a chance to live and exist in everyday life, rather than in a closed book where it may be forgotten. I was heavily influenced by my grandmother and her Fabergé eggs she would make. I was captivated by the details, and always imagined myself inside them. From that early influence I have always seen the figures that appear in my stories as a reflection of myself, my mental state, and the internal battles I am sorting through. With my background in illustration I enjoy making busy and highly illustrated work that invites the viewer in. I believe that in those moments, you and I truly connect, and that is a precious thing in a world that is so disjointed.
I have an overflowing amount of love for being in the studio and part of me that will always need to work in clay. There’s a part of my soul that will never be satisfied sitting at a desk or behind a computer, no matter how creative a task is. I need the ‘sensory happies’ of clay. The dark wet smell of the inside of a giant pot; The grit under my fingernails; The warmth of a pot, fresh out of a kiln. Messy hands make for a happy heart.
– Claire McCauley