Imagine a cave woman, id-driven and disheveled, lost in the soft, squishy possibility of the clay in her hands. Then triple it. That would be Me Like Clay, a newly formed collective whose chest-thumping members -- Titia Estes, Susan Wong and Heather Rosenman -- will show their work at the Brewery ArtWalk next weekend.
“It’s the primal, pure aspect of clay that draws us,” Estes said. “We all get dirt in our faces, under our fingernails. But we love it.”
The women met seven years ago while taking ceramics classes at Glendale Community College. Working alongside one another cemented their friendship, but only at the summer Renegade Craft Fair in L.A. did the women formalize their association.
Estes, formerly a jewelry maker, took up ceramics to work on a larger scale. Often spending weekends in Pioneertown, she infuses the Spartan beauty of desert rock formations in her heavily textured bowls, planters and vases. Bursts of color on the interior of her pieces add a delightful element of surprise.
“It’s incredibly beautiful out there,” Estes said of the high desert. “Endless browns and grays, then suddenly a bit of color pops out from the flowers. That’s where my palette comes from.”
Rosenman, a Cooper Union graduate who worked as a creative director in branding, takes inspiration from the seemingly disparate worlds of midcentury design and mold spore biology.
“Can you take a molecule and have it be influenced by Isamu Noguchi, the Natzlers or Paolo Soleri?” Rosenman asked.
The strange formula makes for intriguing pieces including her faceted Hive Cut vessels; egg-shaped Modpod birdhouses painted sky blue, sunny yellow or lime green; or Crater vessels, whose surfaces bubble like a cola in mid-fizz.
Wong has the smallest frame of the three but “throws the largest,” Rosenman said. A sustainable gardener, wong's heftier pieces are outdoor ceramic stools. Soft lines, geometric patterns and subtle coloring define her lanterns and birdbaths. “It’s a reaction to the uncontrollable garden,” Wong said of her controlled designs.
Her bell resonates deeply, and with its driftwood clapper hung on rope and an odd branch as an accent, it almost becomes part of the landscape, Wong said.
“We make each other laugh,” Estes said, explaining why the collective has worked. “And it’s OK if we curse in the studio.”
Me Like Clay will show new work at the Brewery Artwalk on Oct. 12 and 13 near downtown Los Angeles. The collective’s pieces also are available through the Atwater Village garden store Potted and K-York Studio in Highland Park. Estes, Rosenman and Wong also are represented individually in other retailers; listings are on the collective’s Facebook page.