MFA Visual Arts
"Because clay is so wonderfully responsive to touch, it readily records all that we do to it. Consequently, we need to know something about what we intend before we touch the clay. I encourage students to think, sketch, revise, rethink, re-sketch, revise until they arrive at the form that most catches their interest and satisfies their design sensibilities."
ABOUT PROFESSOR KELLER
Elizabeth F. Keller is noted for her narrative ceramic sculptures and whimsical teapots. Her work has won awards both regionally and nationally, and has been featured in solo exhibitions, numerous regional and national juried exhibitions, in several Ceramics Monthly publications, and in two recent book publications, 500 Animals in Clay and Teapots: Makers and Collectors. Additionally, she has studied Christian theology and Jewish Studies from various institutions including Fuller Theological Seminary and the University of Judaism. Her life interests are in Art Studio, art education and bonsai/penjing cultivation. She joined the art faculty at Coastal Carolina University in 1994.
With her rather eclectic academic background, it is not surprising that the influences of all of these varied interests are evident in both her sculptural works and teapots. Her sculptural forms present a layered symbolic imagery addressing spiritual concerns, often within a narrative context, or they may address her interest in nature, particularly in its focus around bonsai culture. A few teapots have also been created to incorporate some of these spiritual/narrative interests. However, most of her teapots reflect alternative interests and incorporate a life-long appreciation for whimsy, nature and bonsai cultivation. A further influence derives from a study of Chinese ceramics, particularly Yixing teapots. This research has lead to a concentration in slab construction in both her larger, sculptural works and in most teapots. Another strong focus is the development of the ceramic surface, particularly as it relates to the incorporation of fine detailing and extensive surface texture development.
Final surface resolution can take several paths. Traditional glazing may be employed, or surfaces may be finely burnished to retain the beauty of the natural clay color yet remain watertight. These may then be further refined with enamel decoration. Some work, particularly the sculptural forms and sculptural teapots, may be cold-finished using oil paints, either in addition to glazing or alone. All of these ceramic forms are fired in an electric kiln, at cone 5.