As we arrived at Autumn Cipala’s studio in Rockland, Maine, we were immediately swept up into the industrious calm of this creative space. Autumn is a potter with an expert hand at creating the delicately simple and solid, while paying homage to the pleasing aesthetic of different cultures. Her creations speak for themselves. Stacked high on gray shelves, her finished works gleam with the confidence of a 100-year old maple, secure in its function and beauty, while defined by its vulnerability.
Raised on a small working farm in northeastern Pennsylvania, Autumn’s parents fostered creativity with purposeful activities such as sewing, cooking and canning food, as well as drawing, painting and basket weaving. One of her earliest childhood memories was stumbling upon some clay in a stream near the family farm and creating figurines that were then left to dry in the sun. While studying at the School of Visual Arts in New York City, she enrolled in an off-campus course in pottery wheel throwing, and instantly fell in love. “Like many, I had imagined that throwing on a pottery wheel would be easy and come naturally. This was not the case, but I was smitten with the process and product, and up to the challenge of learning the necessary skills.” In an effort to pursue her passion and hone her craft, Autumn transferred to Alfred University where she studied Ceramic Art and received her BFA. She later received an MFA from the University of Nebraska at Lincoln.
“My favorite part of the process is wheel throwing, bringing the form into being,” says the artist. Autumn chooses to work with porcelain for its quality of translucence and superior strength, which acts as a blank slate from which to create. “Working with porcelain on the potter’s wheel, one must use a very delicate and controlled touch, making no sudden movements or the piece will be thrown off center,” she says. “This process requires one to slow down, demands complete focus and calm energy.” After adequate drying time, Autumn adds the finishing touches of handles and trimming feet, as well as drawing, carving or slip decoration, before her elegant wonders are glazed and fired in a 2400˚ fahrenheit kiln.
Inspired by new experiences, Autumn’s works reflect the different cultures she encountered through the travels her work provided, before she set her roots in tranquil Maine. From Minnesota to Morocco, she sought out experiences to enhance alternate influences into her sophisticated, classic aesthetic. “I am inspired by work from many cultures, from China to Western Asia, North Africa, and the Americas; by work that embodies harmony, purity, elegance and a tranquil presence,” says the artist.
Autumn Cipala’s works of pottery are both simple and intricate; their wide array of functionality stands in noble contrast to their austere simplicity. “With attention to detail, I hope to entice the viewer to linger in contemplation and reflection, developing an intimate relationship with the object. I believe that in discovery one finds presence and beauty.”
Shop Autumn Cipala's goods here.
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