Monday, November 9, 2009

Instructor Introduction: Mary Drabik

Please tell us a little about yourself; your name, background, education, and a fun fact or two.
I grew up in Michigan, a little town just west of Detroit, where I completed all of my beginning education. I recieved my BFA from Michigan State University where I studied under Brian Bolden, Blake Williams and Jae Won Lee, although I learned a lot more practical information from our ceramic tech Michael McCune. I actually did not plan to get an art degree, my orginal major was environmental botany, but at some point I realized that I could not see an enjoyable future in it.

How long have you been working with clay and how did you get started?
I started with ceramics when I was a little girl, finding iron deposits in my backyard and making little vases that dried in the sun. I went on to learn the basics of ceramics in high school and from then on had always found it to be something I really loved. So when my I dropped my botany major, I picked up sculpture.

What are your influences, both inside and outside of the clay world?
Now, I have been out of school for four years, living in Chicago and I find that my motivations have completely changed in the work I create. I feel like my work has become more humanistic and a reflection of the people around me. Also, managing a small cafe, I have become well versed in the habits of other people. I am also still trying to find a balance between work at the cafe, my other arts, my social life, traveling and working at the studio. But I think there is always a see-saw affect in life in general. Maybe that can also be seen reflected in my work where I find my work at the time a bit dualistic, comparing my hand pinched nesting bowls to my playful, thrown sets of porcelain dishes. It has the elements I see reflected from myself, a more serious, romantic side balancing with an outgoing, almost fun outlook on life.

Do you sell your work? If so, how can one find it?
I am currently working on a more cohesive body of work, that hopefully soon will be sellable but I haven't really sold anything in Chicago.

What advice can you give to students of the ceramic arts?
My advice to any new student is to try and control your frustrations when first starting to work with clay. One can learn alot about onesself with clay and it has the ability to be very rewarding.

Any parting words?
So my parting words are, I have grown to love Lillstreet. I started as a floor cleaner 3 years ago (which I still do) and soon will be teaching first time potter. I have really come to appreciate the space and the community and the time I spend there.

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