Kathy Pallie


Kathy Pallie
Ceramic Artist

I always enjoyed working with my hands, making things out of all different materials. Though I never had art classes in high school, I was an art major in college and received my BFA cum laude from Boston University. This was followed by a very exciting career in commercial art, designing products for the visual merchandising, point-of-purchase and exhibit industries. Most of the products I created were 3-dimensional, large scale, and fabricated from a vast range of materials. I loved the challenge of using materials that had totally different commercial uses and creating products from them that were applicable to the display industries. Years later when I rediscovered clay, I knew this was a material I had to explore in greater depth.

Texture and surface exploration integrated with a 3-dimensional form have always been a part of my clay work. I approach form and surface texture as one, rather than create a form to use as a canvas for painting. The tactile sense is always in play, whether I’m creating a realistic trompe l’oeil effect or zeroing in on the many nuances of tree bark through a macro lens. Observing in such detail opens a world of exciting abstract graphic designs and forms.

Nature is my biggest inspiration, offering a vast palette of colors, textures, and patterns from which to choose. Some of my favorite texturing tools such as pieces of bark, tree nuts, sprigs, and twigs are readily found outdoors. Most things in nature grow vertically reaching toward the sun and are nurtured by the earth in which they are planted. Working with clay, a material which comes from the earth, reminds me to reach and stretch in my thinking and creative process, and to nurture my passion for clay and to communicate my ideas.

My clay basket series evolved from observing reeds and grasses, which grow vertically, but are often used horizontally to construct basketry. As I was making my clay baskets, I found myself caught up in the rhythmic, meditative flow of the process and realized how involved and interwoven I, as the artist, was with the piece I was creating. The artist and her art had become one. From this evolved a figurative series of basket makers.

Most of my clay work is hand built as opposed to wheel thrown. My hands manipulate the clay by pushing, pulling, pinching, incising and rolling, creating an effect evoking both the visual and tactile senses. I work with clay slabs, coils, and extruded shapes and use various clay bodies, firing processes, glazes, and cold finishes to achieve my results.

The scope of my work ranges from small 3” – 6” diameter coil treasure baskets to architectural scale installations. I enjoy the challenge of site specific commissioned installations such as the 48”H x 96”L aspen wall piece “Out of the Woods” created for the Ritz-Carlton Hotel in N. Lake Tahoe, CA. Equally, I love the time spent in my studio creating, experimenting, and putting my energy into whatever the next piece
might be.