LEO: What type of artist are you?
Amy Chase: I am a ceramicist working primarily with sculptural forms. Surface treatments are a focus of my attention. Recently, I have begun developing a line of functional pottery that will incorporate activated surfaces from my sculptural work.
Explain your artistic process.
My work investigates relationships between objects in order to depict relationships between people. This approach allows me to engage with formal concerns and practical matters of design while also representing content connected to people, memories and situations from my experience. My sculptural forms are methodically constructed by hand. I push and pull the walls of my forms to create a sense of volume. Although they are abstract, these forms work by creating a sense of familiarity. The surfaces carry intricate patterns that are applied using exacting slip and glazing techniques. These choices in pattern address personal experiences, while at the same time evoking the viewers’ own emotions and associations. In each piece, I attempt to establish links between people, things, or events connected to specific relationships and environments. I am able to communicate different emotions by varying the distance between the objects or by adjusting their balance. My work is a representation of my experiences with the intention to create an emotional charge, enticing the viewer to make their own connection.
As one of the cofounders of the Southern Crossings Pottery Festival, why did you feel this event was needed?
The Southern Crossings Pottery Festival [SXPF] highlights the cultural significance of handmade pottery by celebrating its forms, makers and uses. In particular, there is an emphasis on how handmade pottery nourishes those who use it by bringing them food and aesthetic fulfillment. Food sharing and the support of local artisans are also ways in which traditions of handmade pottery help to build and sustain community. SXPF aims to fill a void in our region by reinvigorating its historically rich pottery scene. To that end, SXPF considers developments in other cities such Minneapolis, Charlotte, Philadelphia and Kansas City; all of which have curated markets that elevate contemporary ceramics. We intend to put Louisville on the map as a nationally-recognized center for ceramic arts alongside those cities by representing potters from Indianapolis, Nashville, Lexington and other metro areas in our region.
In addition to increasing appreciation of handmade contemporary functional pottery, SXPF also seeks to have a positive impact on the widespread problem of childhood hunger. SXPF works with Kentucky Mudworks and many local potters to help fight childhood hunger in Kentuckiana by hosting Empty Bowls, a dinner to benefit A Recipe to End Hunger. That event features donated soups from local restaurants and donated handmade bowls, which are available for purchase. The 2019 SXPF (sxpf.org) will be March 1-2 at Copper & Kings.
Congratulations on receiving the Al Smith Individual Artist Fellowship from the Kentucky Arts Council. How did that change your life?
The Al Smith Individual Artist Fellowship has positively impacted my ceramic career across the past year, and I continue to benefit from it. The financial freedom afforded by the Fellowship allows me to take the creative risks that are essential to advancing my artwork. I have been able to try new claybodies and purchase new tools and equipment, all of which has increased my productivity and experimentation. The Fellowship has also covered expenses related to shipping of artwork, allowing me to show in galleries and exhibitions across the country.
Your day job is the creative design director at Louisville Visual Art. What do you do for the organization?
As with positions at most nonprofit organizations, my job at LVA is one in which I tend to wear a lot of hats, but I spend a majority of my time connecting artists to opportunities, events and resources throughout the city. I am currently organizing the 2018 Open Studio Weekend (Nov. 3-4), which will showcase the studio spaces and processes of almost 100 local artists. I also create all LVA publications and maintain the website.
Is there a local artist you think is doing great work that hasn’t been noticed yet?
I work with so many great artists in and around Louisville who deserve more attention that I really can’t single anyone out. I would, however, advise readers to keep an eye on the amazing clay artists participating in the 2019 SXPF!