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VALERIE LAUTERBACH

Although I was always drawn to artistic pursuits as a child, spending lots of time with childrens’ modeling compound, and a geometric magnetic set and drawing toy,  I began my career as an electrical engineer and enjoyed the work very much.  I always had a visual mental model of my work, and particularly enjoyed creating software models with their nearly instant feedback and ease of modification. After having three children I made the difficult decision not to continue in the field and tried a ceramics course, quickly falling in love with the pottery wheel.  Over the years spent improving my skills under the tutelage of Andy Ruble at Foothill College and numerous workshops, I began to develop my own style.

 

In my work I strive to capture the metamorphosis from a lump of clay to a mature work proudly proclaiming its character, and testifying to the tension between the movement of the wheel and my hands, and to the ever-changing kiln atmosphere; the whole process recalling growth and decay and the play of water and wind and earth and fire.  While I lack the patience of a gardener or painter, I am immensely satisfied by the immediacy of throwing, the endless opportunity to try something a little differently.  I experiment; I fail, or I should say, rather, that I don’t always keep the result, yet there is nearly always some kernel of understanding gained in that process, to inform the next experience.  I strive to understand when the clay signals me that its statement is clear, it has nothing more to say.

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