Catharine Hiersoux is a professional ceramic artist, teacher and lecturer. She was commissioned to make pieces for the White House, and has exhibited extensively nationally and internationally. Her work is represented in major collections, including: the Renwick Gallery, Washington D.C., American Craft Museum, NYC, Cities of Osaka, Hong Kong, and Singapore. Her teaching engagements include Haystack, Penland, SUNY, NY, UCSC, and SF State.
Hiersoux owns and operates the Hiersoux Gallery in Berkeley, California, exhibiting her work and the work of other artists. Her current work includes breathtaking woodfired sculptural pieces, using Japanese techniques
"My work in clay has been almost exclusively devoted to porcelain. At one point, a narrow-neck, classic-profile vase literally split apart suggesting the metaphor of a cracked eggshell, allowing an exploration of vulnerability. As these vessels developed in and out of rocks, sculpted from clay, they expressed an ambiguity between forms representing new growth and/or, weathered by time." "The new forms suggested alternate techniques in firing where the kiln, the transformational element, assumes a more significant role. Forms are further enhanced by exposing them to the chance encounters of the rigor and magic of the fire. The fire is expansive, connecting us to forces much larger than ourselves. In this new relationship we experience both humility and a sense of awe."
WOOD FIRING A process of firing clay, replicating ancient kilns where wood is used as fuel. The wood is introduced through small openings in the kiln, rhythmically and continuously for as much as seven or eight days. Over many hours and days of maintaining the fire, gradually increasing the temperature, the ash melts and forms the glaze. Beautiful, exciting and unpredictable surfaces result from this process. Therein lies the magic.