Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Short Bio on Susy O'Donnell Pottery

Brown County Historic Redware is made by Susy O'Donnell in her Nashville Indiana studio exclusively for Madeline's. Her redware is an interpretation of the Brown County Pottery and Brown County Hills Pottery that was produced in an earlier part of Nashville's history. Each piece is made with red earthenware, either thrown or molded. Then, after applying a white slip over the piece, an intricate method of carving is used called sgrafitto, which cuts through the slip and outlines the image. The images are then hand painted with watercolors.

The motifs are common to the Brown County area and consist of flowers, acorns, persimmons, birds, etc. On the second firing, the glaze on the pots crackles as it cools and an aging technique finishes completes the process. The lead-free pieces are created for decorative use to inspire and are embellished with a touch of Brown County.

Susy is basically self-taught, gathering information and tutelage along the way from various masters and observing historical collections in the Pennsylvania Museum of Art. Beginning in 1988, she acquired a wheel and kilns and attended classes in Bloomington, Indiana at Mullet Pottery. A member of the Bloomington Potters Coop in the early 90's, she audited ceramic classes at Indiana University with Tim Mathers, head of the Ceramics Department. In the late 90's she took classes with master Mojolica potter Susan Snyder, learning pertinent techniques relating to Brown County decoration. Many enriching visits with renowned potter, Greg Shooner gave her insight, as well as books and materials related to the field of Americana Craftsmanship shows since 1994. Her interest in historic ceramic forms and her exposure to the early American pottery provided a natural evolution, as Brown County pottery involves the same clay and techniques as well as similar aesthetics.

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