ELIZABETH MCGIFF | CERAMICS

Blue cups with Decanter, porcelain

McGiff Studios: 92 Ring Road, Salt Point 12578 | 302-593-9789 | Stairs

mcgiffel@gmail.com 

Like most artists my primary inspiration is nature. I am also drawn to the minimal aesthetic of Japanese, Scandinavian, and Bauhaus design. Starting with an idea of shape or function, I work in slab as well as wheel thrown parts. Porcelain is a wonderful clay body for clean fluid lines. Testing glazes for color and texture is another source of inspiration. If school’s taught chemistry class with formulation of ceramic glazes I think more students would love chemistry.

I make things that are going to be an intimate part of someone’s household. Whether it’s the casual relationship you have with your favorite mug for your morning coffee or afternoon tea, or a more formal use to elevate one’s nightly dinner into an elegant gathering with family or friends, the feel of a handmade objects in your life connects you with the world of makers. As a potter I feel honored when my work leaves my home to become part of yours.

I was raised in the Hudson Valley, down river, in Irvington NY. My mom found me private art classes at a young age and by high school my teacher was encouraging me to take the train down to the city to visit Museums and Galleries. I received a BFA from SUNY Purchase…got married, moved to Philadelphia… had two kids, moved to Delaware. I taught art to third graders and then ceramics to high school students at the St. Andrew’s School boarding school for ten years. After 22 years in Delaware I’m back in New York with my husband, painter John McGiff, in the small hamlet of Salt Point. It’s good to be back in the Hudson Valley!

Early on teachers would tell me to “look with your eyes, not with your hands.” In Philadelphia I took my kids to the Please Touch Museum whenever I could. My son recently graduated as a master carpenter from the North Bennett Street School, Boston, where they teach “what you learn with your hands you never forget.” I have always craved to be doing something with my hands, folding paper cranes, spinning wool & knitting, or spending a day with clay.

Returning to the Hudson Valley I’m finding comfort being surrounded with hills. Rounding a curve in the road and finding hills against hills stretching into the distance thrills me every time. In my work with clay I am drawn to the convex meeting the concave. How light moves across a curve, cast shadows, reflects light back into shadows.