Adria Katz



The boundaries between ecosystems are known to hold the most diverse life. In them live beings that are tough and resilient. They benefit from both the land and the ocean: nutrients of decomposing matter in the ground and the sun’s warmth on the earth’s surface, sanitizing properties of salt and cooling from the gentle waves. But ecotonal life also sits precariously on a precipice, subject to changes that can come from the earth or the sea. I sculpt creatures from these liminal environments to acknowledge both their innate beauty and the delicate science of their existence. My work suggests a hope for coexistence between humans and other organisms that preserves and upholds biodiversity.

The inherent qualities of clay enable me to explore the contrasting ideas of permanence and fragility. Ceramic material is conventionally inert and long lasting when presented in its fired stage. However, fired to only low temperatures, ceramics are porous and brittle, and susceptible to erosion. When left unfired, it wears, mutates and dissolves simply through touch or water. A parallel can be drawn to delicate ecosystems: the fortitude of healthy ones to the fragility of those under duress from temperature change, erosion and human contact. As a species, we impact the status of all ecosystems simply by our presence. We are biologically self-preserving, and must compete with our own nature in order to preserve the natural world.




about me

I have always been drawn to meticulous, highly skilled crafts - crafts that take time and patience and precision, and that are tied to a tradition of technique. Part of the creative process happens for me when I am engaged in the careful steps of building a piece. My hands can determine what to do next when they are steeped in knowledge of the medium and the ways in which it operates.

A universal appeal of clay is that it requires construction and process.  It is not immediate, and demands prolonged attention. I am attracted to that process because it gives time for learning and adapting. Clay is at the critical intersections of limitless potential and technical skill, utilitarian craft and pure form, child's toy and fine art. All these juxtapositions make clay an enticing medium for me.

Using clay requires an organic process, perhaps because clay is itself a material that is from the earth. And because of that, I have been drawn to shapes of organisms in my work. But I've always felt that clay has an undeniably utilitarian past. Therefore, I try to explore the place of organic forms in uses for everyday life. I like the basal idea of using a body part to do a job that is today served by a piece of plastic or metal: a cupped hand forms the most basic bowl, an incisor cuts as well as a chef's knife. Nature gives us countless meticulous patterns that are overlooked in our over-mechanized world. My work is a gentle reminder that our world is so tuned to using the precise tool for the job, when the work of so many tools can be accomplished simply by our fingers and our teeth, and that we should recognize the power of our own bodies to create so much.