Current Exhibit: Evolving Vessels: Throwing from the Inside Out

The Staunton Augusta Art Center invites its members and the general public to the reception to celebrate the opening of a new exhibition Evolving Vessels: Throwing from the Inside Out, ceramic works by Wendy Werstlein.

The reception Friday evening, April 12, 5-7pm, in the Staunton Augusta Art Center galleries (in the R. R. Smith Center for History and Art at 20 S. New Street in historic downtown Staunton) offers the opportunity to meet and visit with the artist.  Wendy was the Best in Show Winner at Art in the Park at Gypsy Hill last year.  A former biology teacher formerly from Asheville and currently living in Floyd, Virginia, Wendy is now a full-time studio artist.  Her artist statement, below, reveals a substantive philosophy which she incorporates into her functional pottery.

The exhibit will be up through May 23.  Regular gallery hours are 10am-5pm Monday-Friday and 10am-4pm Saturday.    An image of her work is attached.  There is no charge to visit the galleries or to attend the reception.  For more information, please call the Staunton Augusta Art Center at 540-885-2028.

Artist’s Statement

Our environment has a dramatic impact on the ease with which we connect with others and ourselves. For me, creating functional ceramics is a visceral way of creating a unique environment where simplicity and truth merge. In a fast paced culture that is removed from nature, it is through the creation and use of handmade objects that we can slow our pace and reconnect with the world around us. It is a conscious choice for me each day to make pots, to entice others to use and share these forms.  It is an economic statement to buy them, but there is also an emotional component and larger cultural significance when people choose to support an artist’s work. These decisions shape our world of external objects as well as our inner sense of self.  Whether you enjoy a cup of tea alone or share a meal with a friend, each experience is enhanced by the presence of handmade objects.

I taught high school biology and I cultivated a love for helping others explore the world while also encouraging scientific inquiry.  Clay has taught me how to integrate a voice of spirit and intention in my work. I hope my pots will engage the user visually and tactilely through the daily rituals of serving, preparing, and sharing food.

I am affected by the flow and line patterns in nature and I explore these patterns and forms in my pots. Through these forms and patterns emerge lines of communication.  I am learning that the communication of pottery happens most often in the absence of language. My pots are moving towards a more organic appearance, often altered away from the perfect circle of the wheel.  I seek to infuse my work with a sense of movement; the soft stroke of the hand giving comfort and thanks through use.  The development, creation, and sale of my pots is my play, my extroversion expressed, my desire to please others, my path to understanding many things. I am currently living in Floyd, Virginia working as a studio potter.

My pottery is made of porcelain clay and is fired in a gas reduction kiln to cone 10.  All pots are safe for microwave, dishwasher and oven.