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A Talk by Cynthia Siegel at the Wellington Potters Association Studio

by Nicola Dench - 26/Nov/2013
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I had the pleasure of attending a talk at WPA by celebrated ceramic artist Cynthia Siegel on Wednesday 6 November.

Cynthia started pottery in the mid 90’s after being inspired when watching someone throwing on a wheel in Scotland whilst on holiday.

Upon returning to the States Cynthia lived in the remote town of Bishop, CA in the Eastern Sierra high desert, where she took over from the town potter when they retired. At this time in her career Cynthia was making many different types of ware, from tiles to mugs, platters and teapots, to fulfil the needs of the community.

After a trip to India Cynthia was inspired by the motifs she saw and started to incorporate these into the surface detail on her vessels. The biggest evolution in her work came after her third trip to India travelling through the temples of Southern India. Upon her return to the central coast of California, she began to focus her work on the expressive


possibilities of the figure, exploring how the inner workings of
thought, imagination, and longing manifest externally on the figurative form. Ideas of empowerment and introspection are frequent central themes. Drawing inspiration from sources both natural and cultural, CynthiaI explores the possibilities of thought and emotion as physical form and endeavours to bring a sense of wonder to her work.

Cynthia pushed her figures further as they grew in size, her winning work ‘Big Lil’ is life size. Cynthia explained some of the logistics of making work this big including the use of steel angle iron and rods suspended from her ceiling.

Cynthia exhibits her work nationally and internationally, recently receiving awards at the Taiwan Ceramics Biennale and the Cheongju International Craft Biennale.

It was a pleasure to have had the opportunity to meet Cynthia, thanks to Richard Fahey and Moira Elliott for inviting her to visit New Zealand.

Nicola Dench

'Slow Goin'
'Naughty Girl'
'Big Lil'

Ceramics Association of New Zealand

Registered as an incorporated society in 1965 by an enthusiastic group of potters in Wellington, New Zealand, Ceramics NZ has grown to become a significant international voice in New Zealand ceramics. The affiliation of about three dozen independent pottery clubs throughout New Zealand together with a number of corporate businesses greatly increases its effective membership. We are a national, not-for-profit organisation representing the interests of practising potters and ceramicists, students of ceramics and all those interested in New Zealand ceramics. We actively support and promote quality, and we encourage and support specialist ceramics education nationally.
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