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The Goliad Monitor: Stoneware Stars

Photograph by Christi LaViolette
Photograph by Christi LaViolette

Denton-based sculptor and potter Ashley Young joins Leslie Hartman and Camille Green as visiting artists for the opening of “Life Looked Over: A Picture of West Texas History,” the new photography exhibition by Artist-in-Residence Christi LaViolette. In anticipation of her showcase at the event, Young tells us a little bit about family, work, and hard lessons.

Goliad: Tell us about your background and where you are in your career at this point.

Young: I would say my life in art started as far back as I can remember. My great grandparents helped raise me as a child, and my great grandmother was an artist and a musician, so I was exposed to that world at a very young age. I was lucky enough to have drawing lessons before I could even read.

Since then, I’ve worked in many different media—but have fallen in love with ceramics these past few years.

As for now, I have a BFA in Ceramics and am currently working on a post baccalaureate in ceramics at UNT. I’m using this year to build my portfolio in order to get the best deal possible on grad school to pursue an MFA.

G: What is it about ceramics that appeals to you more than other media?

Y: Definitely all of the possibilities—you can just do more things with ceramics—functional or sculptural. And fire is fun too.

G: You work in a variety of forms: decorative, functional, sculptural. Do you feel that there is a common thread that ties all of your work together?

Y: I would say that certain themes or things I’m interested in at the moment tend to show up throughout my work.

For example, I’m currently working on a figurative sculpture based on a myth having to do with the cosmos—certain constellations have made their way onto my functional pieces, and single stars are also seen in the brooches I recently finished.

I wouldn’t say that it is entirely intentional, it’s just that whatever I have on my mind has a tendency to show up in one way or another throughout all of my ceramic forms.

G: What do you think your art has taught you?

Y: Humility and patience. The ceramic medium is so unforgiving. The first few years, everything you make looks terrible, and the second you think you have it all figured out, everything goes to hell—and you have to laugh so you don’t cry. Ceramics is like a wise old woman who constantly hits you with a stick.

Life Looked Over: A Picture of West Texas History is free and open to the public on Saturday, April 9 at Dan’s Silverleaf in Denton, TX from 12:00-4:00.

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