Artist Statement

Ceil Leeper Sturdevant

Kathy was a positive and encouraging instructor. She instilled in me a confidence in my artistic abilities when I was a clay student at Westminster College.

For the past 10 years she has continued to be supportive in my growth as a professional artist.

Over the years, Kathy’s and my relationship has evolved from mentorship to friendship.

Expressing myself through the making of objects is a privilege and a passion.

The human figure has been a primary focus of my work for the past several years.

I have explored different techniques, methods, clay bodies, and surface treatments. Recently I have experimented with hand building of different scales of sculpture from tabletop to life size. I have found that size significantly affects the interpretation of my work.

Through figurative imagery my work explores the relationships among people. It is a conversation, fueled by relationships and travels…a visual diary narrated with an evolving personal vocabulary of images.

I believe that many people today are searching through figurative images for spiritual guidance…some ancient people thought that icons were alive and had spiritual power. My own work is inspired by these ancient beliefs and images.

My large-scale work is supported by internal metal armatures. After extruding or sculpting the clay forms, I cut them into segments, hollow them out, and fire them. Reconstruction is done by stringing/beading the hollowed pieces back onto the armatures after firing. This method allows for less risk in firing and easier portability.

The foundation of my surface color is terra sigillata, an ancient recipe using thinned and purified white clay slip with the additions of oxides and colored stains. This is painted onto the clay before firing and bonds as clay to clay on the surface. Later I may use glazes, gouaches, and other colored pigments to accentuate these surfaces. I sometimes post fire my work for different effects.

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