Ellen Silberlicht, once a resident of Lancaster who taught Art at Lancaster Country Day, returns to us showcasing her clay work at City Folk Gallery. With vessels rich in texture, she plays off of each form with animals crawling, emerging, protecting or becoming the pot.
“Throwing is a technique that is truly frustrating for a beginner. Although I was mesmerized by clay at an early age, I too became one of those frustrated potters, never loving the process. Creating a symmetrical form was never quite finished for me. Altering the piece, adding something hand built to it, allows me to further play with the form and tell a story. Using the raku process keeps me humble for the fragility is something that is always challenging. I seem to take every medium I use and stretch it to its limits. Raku firing gives me enough of a surprise in my life while adding to my knowledge of the process”.
“In my younger years of dreaming what I would do in my life, my goal was to be a self–supporting artist, with clay as my medium. I knew little of where my life was about to take me. Every turn, every episode built my personal vocabulary and references. Each experience added to my knowledge, whether it be in clay or other materials I was exposed to, or just a pure experience; it was logged for future reference. Interestingly enough, I reached my goal as a self–supporting artist, but in fiber, and then fell into the love of teaching. I found my way home to share my love of clay to young emerging hearts at the very high school I had attended. It was a long, awakening journey…but it did bring me to where I truly belonged.”
Now retired after 15 years of sharing her clay knowledge with her students in Northeast PA, she is able to spend hours each day in her studio, Ellen brings her years of adventure, experience, and amazement of the natural world to her fingertips. What they reveal in her medium is a story of her many encounters.
“I am spellbound by the raku firing process, its surprises, and earthiness. I feel as though I’ve opened an ancient door to my soul and have found my balance with the earth.”