Artist’s Statement Chelséa Collins
For me, clay is more than an art medium. It is a connection to an ancestry that has few other links. It is an extension of my mind, imagination and dreams. It's a conduit to infinite expression, a way to give life to what is otherwise trapped between my ears.
Working with my hands, watching a lump of mud transform into something useful, something beautiful, something that seems even a little bit alive, is one of the best feelings in the world. All of my life I have struggled to feel useful, to be helpful, to be a person of value. Growing up I was often overlooked, people taking my appearance to mean that I had little value. My scars and size meant I would never be beautiful. My coloration led people to assume a lack of intelligence and creativity and my stutter stifled my voice. For so long I believed them, and I would despair. But clay was always there, allowing my shaky hands to create things of beauty, of function, of value. My confidence only survived through those creations, and now sculpture and ceramic drives my life.
The pieces I create are not perfect. They take a bit of me. I wobble, I'm covered in scars, and my body is far from perfect. But I'm memorable, I love myself, and I love my work. They might teeter a bit, or might not quite do what they were supposed to, but I rejoice in their creation, and I hope those that experience my work feel some of that joy too, and remember it.
I focus on handbuilding, and have a vague fear of the wheel. I try for organic shapes, and like to explore curves and natural texturing. Everything I make I would like to have a purpose, even if it's to sit there and look pretty, and often I try to incorporate multiple uses into my forms. Sculptures that breathe fire, books that double as drawers, a tree that happens to be a lamp. Everything I make, I want it to feel a little bit alive.