Creating handmade works of art

Clay artist Deb Paradise’s work has evolved through a wide variety of themes in recent years.

Never interested in wheel throwing, her work is hand-built, often from high quality porcelain that results in a pure white finish known as blanc de Chine.

Meaning literally, ‘white of China’ it is the name given by 19th century French to a variety of Chinese ceramics made primarily during the 17th and 18th centuries.

Each year, Paradise creates a limited edition holiday ornament, and this year an angel with a showgirl walk emerged. Exuding an aura proud and happy, the angels float in with stylized headdresses and androgynous faces—reminiscent of an Erte or Cirque du Soleil figurine.

This series was made specifically for the opening of the Stray Art Salon Gallery, of which Deb is a partner along with eight other artists of diverse mediums.

Also available are a few of her ornament series from previous years, made from stoneware and incorporating vintage beads and star, heart and swirly motifs with pastel-colored glazes.

On display at the gallery as well, are Paradise’s sculptural wall ceramics mounted in a grouping of free-form organic shapes.

“I have been working primarily in the faux bois style with natural elements,” Paradise says. Examples include stylized blossoms and leaves, shells with barnacles and ridges of frilly corals and lichens.

She completed her first international commission this past summer for the Ritz Carlton Spa in Shenzhen, China. Mounted in the reception area, nature shapes float across a twenty-nine foot marble tile wall.

Paradise says Ritz Carlton requested work that ‘reflects the organic and peaceful quietness that only nature can provide.’

Most recently, Paradise has birthed a new series of wall plaques of fully vitrified unglazed porcelain that are embellished with graphite.

These pieces she considers to be comparable to fragments of Roman or Egyptian frescoes representing small windows into an alternate reality.

The series also represent a further exploration into her journey of self-discovery and the experience of the authentic self.

Paradise’s personal website is Debpottery.com. Current work is available at the recently opened Stray Art Salon gallery in the Lee Branch Shopping Center at 701 Doug Baker Blvd. on U.S. 280. Call 991-5151 for hours.

Laura Brookhart can be reached by e–mail at labro16@yahoo.com.