Melanie Riggs Ceramics

Artist's Statement Biography Works Contact Me

To me art is all about combining who I am now with who I was in the past when I was younger; what I feel, the places I consider to be home, and my cultural heritage.

Much of my childhood was spent in the Interlake with my grandparents and this exposed me to nature quite a bit; they lived on a farm. This time also instilled in me a great sense as to the beauty around me and the wild elegance that is everywhere you look. I have struggled quite a bit with combining these elements of wild elegance and untamed natural beauty with my Ukrainian and Scottish heritages, and the strong affection that I hold for all of it, the inspiration that I find in it, and the way that it all combines to give me a greater sense of home whether I am standing in the middle of my garden at my home in the city, or the middle of the field behind the old homestead on the farm.

I have tried many media on their own; Photography, Painting, Drawing and finally Ceramics, and in this final media I have found the answer. It took much trial and error; even now I am still learning how to make everything mesh in this medium. The wild elegance found in a swaying tree line or rippling field, my affection for plants and animals, the intricate lace work of Celtic Knot work and the vibrancy of the colors and patterns that are found in the traditional craft works of Ukraine.

It took a long time for everything to stop looking like I had thoughtlessly slapped on a decoration I thought would look good. Although I borrowed some of the techniques from these other media, such as hand painting black and white drawings onto the vessels or the use of decal photo transfers, the forms that I was creating were not sufficiently elegant. The decorations I used required more; they did not portray the elegance I saw in the shapes and forms of nature. The forms I created were too thick, heavy, ungainly, and not as finished or polished as I wanted.

After studying throwing and coiling, I realized that casting the pieces in porcelain and piecing together the resulting forms would allow me to capture that elegance. Having the decorations in mind while building the forms furthered the overall affect. All that was needed was a pop of color to tie it all together; achieved not through glaze, but through tinted slip. As all of these elements fall into the harmony required, I can now better show the elegance and beauty of those elements and places that I consider home.

All works, designs, and images thereof copyright Melanie Riggs, 2007-2014.
Any copying of or other reproductions of these works need the express permission of the Artist.