By Emma Castleberry
Ceramic artist Kelsey Schissel touched clay for the first time at a craft show near Boone when she was 11 years old. “It just reached out and grabbed hold of my soul and I knew from that point that I wanted to be a potter,” she says. After obtaining her BFA in Ceramics from UNC-Asheville, Schissel started her business, Plays in Mud Pottery, in 2009.
“Most of my inspiration comes from nature, sunlight and shadow,” says the artist of her style. “I can see the undulating patterns of Art Nouveau in the Blue Ridge Mountains and, when needing inspiration for forms, will often go for a nice long hike.” She sticks to greens and blues in her glazing process, because those are the most common colors of the region, and the minimalist color approach draws viewers to the surface of her pottery. “I am fascinated by patterns,” she says. “I like the idea of creating a single small shape that, when repeated, creates a canvas that wraps around the piece. Working with a small stamp allows me to condense or expand negative space between the stamps and that space, in turn, becomes a pattern.”
Schissel, who is represented in more than 90 galleries across the country, will be participating in Southern Highland Craft Guild’s
October show. In January, she opened Plays in Mud Pottery Studio, a gallery and teaching center in West Asheville. She’ll offer her first pottery classes there in August.