"I hope also that we will continue to be able to look upon art and artists as one of the factors which can be used to draw nations together....

We need emotional outlets in this country and the more artistic people we develop the better it will be for us as a nation."

     —Eleanor Roosevelt

 

 

My work:

 

The focus of my work is on conveying a sense of unobtrusiveness and quiet while serving as a vehicle for food and beverage. I illustrate pared down forms with lively glimpses of our world in a restrained color palette. I look for a concurrence of calm and dynamism, understatement and warmth, tradition and originality. Individual pieces meant for frequent use are at the heart of my work, and everything is handmade.

 

I also create wall displays, the component parts of which interact with one another to catch and hold the viewer’s attention. Sometimes they tell a story or ask a question, and the overall concept is conveyed through the relationship of the individual elements.

 

At present, I am collaborating with my Instagram friend @kikuhouse to illustrate the 72 microseasons of Japan.  Each microseason is illustrated by me on a tiny plate, with an accompanying poem by my partner, Joanna Nakamura.  Parallel to these established seasonal changes delineated by traditional lore, I am separately documenting the actual seasonal intervals as I experience them.

 

My story:

 

I was born and raised in rural Georgia, the youngest of three children. My father had a wholesale tire business, and my mother was a housewife. My dad would give me the leftover price sheets from his tire store to use for drawing, an activity that occupied most of my childhood.

 

My love of books took me to St. John's College, the “Great Books School” in Santa Fe, New Mexico, where I earned my undergraduate degree. After graduating, I went on to study the Russian language for three years, culminating in a summer at the University of Leningrad. Next, I moved to New York City on a whim, where I got a job at a Japanese bank - just to pay the rent and to try something new. I was trained as a money market trader. My co-workers at the bank introduced me to the world of Japanese ceramics, and a show of 17th century Korean celadon ceramics at the Metropolitan Museum of Art marked a defining moment in my life. I began attending evening classes at a small Japanese pottery studio in Manhattan while still working full-time at the bank. After five years, I left New York and sought out an apprenticeship in Japan. I studied under Mr. Yutaka Ohashi of Karatsu, Japan, for 4½ years.

 

After completing my apprenticeship, I returned to New Mexico to buy a remote plot of land in the mountains north of Santa Fe and set up my studio, and I met my husband, Mark Saxe, who is a stone sculptor. Together we own Rift Gallery in Rinconada, New Mexico, south of Taos along the Rio Grande rift valley. Our house and studios are on a hilltop adjacent to the national forest. Daily walks with my dog and the vast space and silence all around are brought to bear in my work. The majority of my pieces are wood-fired in a kiln I built myself, and are complemented by Tiny Plate World Headquarters, my wheel-thrown and hand-painted tiny plates.

 

 

 

 

 

Photo courtesy of Robert Eckert

©2018 Betsy Williams