FROM THE BEGINNING
I have always loved to create. Ever since I was physically able, I was creating. Doodling was my first art practice, of course, and it was probably some of my best work—completely uninhibited! Whenever someone asked me that famous question "What do you want to be when you grow up?", my answer was always the same: "An Artist." I would even draw little pictures of what I thought I might look like one day as an adult artist. I always loved to draw, paint, build, carve, mold, collect, craft... anything I could get my hands on and found beauty in, I tried to turn it into a piece of art or simply recognize that it WAS a work of art on its own. Recognizing the beauty and majesty of creation is my greatest motivation as an artist. I am deeply inspired by God's creation - nature, earth, people, the human experience, and all the many wonders of life and the world around us.
I found clay through my high school ceramics classes with Atlanta Potter, Bill Buckner, at Marist School. I instantly fell in love with the many ways that working with clay continually leads me to compelling experiences. The process of working with clay - making, molding, and firing - takes a great amount of patience, care, and humility. Ceramics is an art form that innately begs for community and camaraderie, both in the making and the enjoying of pottery. And on an artistic level, handcrafted pottery speaks to the grace that can be found in the combination of beauty and function.
More than anything, creating with clay is compelling for me in the way it constantly reminds me of God's grace and brilliance in all that he has made. Working with clay is messy! It's basically playing with mud. After a long day of working in the studio, without a doubt, my studio and I end up covered with clay. But somehow, I am able to take that messy clay in my hands and shape it until a pot is made. And then I put it in the kiln and the thing that was once a ball of mud becomes a piece of pottery that I can use and enjoy. This process reminds me of how God works in our lives. He constantly takes me, a mess, and holds me in his hands. He molds me and challenges me, and eventually, I am able to look back and see that he was making me into something far better than the mess I was before.
But now, Oh Lord, you are our Father;
we are the clay, and you are our potter;
we are all the work of your hand.
UGA CERAMICS - ATHENS, GA
I studied Ceramics for five years at the Lamar Dodd School of Art at the University of Georgia under Ted Saupe, Sunkoo Yuh, Georgia Strange, Chris Robinson, Kyungmin Park, and Maria Dondero. At UGA, I learned a great abundance about the art and craft of ceramics, and even more about myself as an artist and a person. I am very grateful for the unique opportunity I had at UGA to also learn from various accomplished contemporary ceramic artist including Michael Simon, Ron Meyers, Tony Clennell, Tony Marsh, and Arthur Gonzalez. I will always cherish the many hours, days, weeks, and years spent at the UGA studio, all that I learned, and the amazing friendships I made.
In May 2015, I graduated from the University of Georgia with a B.F.A in Ceramics, a B.F.A in Art Education, and Minor in Art History. I was happily married later that summer and moved to Richmond, VA where I now live with my husband, Drew.
RICHMOND, VIRGINIA - MY NEW HOME
I have fallen in love with the art and clay community here in Richmond. I live in a city that is teeming with talented artists of every medium, style, and age. It also has a great community of art appreciators, which is very exciting for me as I begin my career. Although I do miss my first home, Atlanta, and second home, Athens, Georgia, I definitely know that I am right where God intends for me to be at this time in my life. Although my husband's job initially brought us to Richmond, I honestly don't think I could have hand-picked a better place for me to begin my own career.
I currently work out of my studio space at Plant Zero Artist Studios. It is a wonderful space and exactly what I need to get started on the right foot. I have also been teaching ceramics classes at the Visual Arts Center of Richmond. These opportunities have been a blessing, and I am very thankful for God's provisions.
If you are interested in seeing my sculptural work, it can be found on my Portfolio Website here: www.claireparrish.com
IT TAKES A VILLAGE
I would love to give a special thank you to all those who helped me reach this point in my life and career. To my parents without whom I would never have had this chance to pursue my passions and God given talents, for being there for me every day, being great examples of love, and for always cheering me on in support of my dreams. To my husband for believing in me every step of the way, encouraging me every morning, noon, and night, being a source of strength, and knowing me better than I know myself. To my amazing big brothers, extended family, and friends for your constant unconditional love, support, and motivation. And to my teachers, mentors, and fellow artists from UGA and beyond for your insight, inspiration, support, and for opening my eyes to my potential and making me believe in it myself. To all of you, please accept my heartfelt, Thank You.
** I want to give an extra special THANK YOU to Ashley Blum and Drew Parrish for taking pictures of me!! :) I quite literally couldn't have done it without you!!! :) Thank you so very much for your time and talents!!!