THIS WEEK WE SAT DOWN AND HAD A CONVERSATION WITH ERIN FURIMSKY...
Erin Furimsky is a practicing studio artist in Bloomington, Illinois whose work focuses on the relationship of sculptural form with highly ornamented surfaces. She received a BFA from the Pennsylvania State University (1997) and an MFA from The Ohio State University (2002) and has exhibited her work nationally with inclusions of her work in international exhibitions.
Erin is a hand builder that works with small-scale volumetric forms. Since the beginning of time, humans have had an innate desire to place ornamentation, pattern, and imagery on objects, architecture, and their bodies. Erin dives into this desire through her work using various forms of surface embellishments.
Do you have artistic rituals in your practice?
I enjoy working on small tiles or dishes that become a "clay sketchbook" as I explore surface development on larger pieces. This allows me to take risks which is harder for me to do on a sculpture that had more time invested in the construction of the form. If I ever find myself stuck or not knowing what to do in the studio that is a safe and fun place for me to be productive.
What's more important to you, process or end result?
I am driven by the potential of the final results and a deadline, but it is the process of making that keeps me interested and always coming back. There are many steps and stages in making a finished ceramic piece and I encounter constant questions that must be solved along the way. Some may involve the clay and glaze preparation, the forming and sculpting of the piece, color and image transfer, and finally how to handle and fire the work. The process takes a lot of attention and I get fully invested as I am working and thinking about how to combine all of these technical aspects with my content.
Reaching Up / Touching, 2020 is about the relationship between two people and that careful dance that occurs as you establish roots but keep reaching up into the unknowns of life.
Who inspires your art making process the most? Or has a role in keeping you making art?
There is no better community than the ceramic community that I have been a part of for 25 years now. I have so many friends near and far and we share a deep passion for working with clay. This wider community of committed and curious makers from every stage of life is what inspires me.
Which do you identify with most? Early Bird , Night Owl, or Sleepy Bear?
My problem is I can be BOTH an early bird and night owl. I want to get the most out of every single day and not take my time and health for granted.
What kind of art do you wish you could make if you're not already doing so?
I am very interested in more printmaking processes. I hope to be able to work with more print and collage in the next couple of years.
From The Roots
Why should someone want to take a class from you?
I strive to help students feel comfortable with all the technical information that they need to understand when working with clay; so they feel confident and independent when working. At the same time, it is very important to try new things and expand what you thought was possible with your skills. Students definitely have fun and take some risks in my classes. This is when the creative process becomes fulfilling on a deeper level.
What was your first art job? first piece of art sold?
The first time I sold a teapot to a stranger it was out of a group show. It was an established gallery in PA I could not believe I was even getting to show there. It meant so much to me that I was in a competitive juried show with fantastic work from around the country. Then my piece stood out and drew someone in enough that they wanted to pay 22-year-old me actual money and have the teapot in their lives. I was thrilled.
What are your roadblocks or hurdles when making art?
It is always hard to find the time to be in the studio. Work and life priorities often cut into that precious studio time.
You can find Erin in Bloomington Il. Practicing and creating art from her home studio while teaching ceramic classes at Heartland Community College, Illinois State University, and the McLean County Arts Center where she has classes so popular they regularly fill up within hours of their offering.
If you'd like to take a class with Erin this summer theres still a few spaces left in
C14 - What's Your Number? Ceramic Address Tiles with Erin Furimsky
click on the link to join today
Some student comments on Erin's classes:
" Erin is an amazing instructor. Knowledgeable, informative, patient, positive. Despite her teaching college level advanced ceramics I NEVER felt like she was talking down to this beginners group. She made herself available to provide technical help and creative inspirations for those who wanted that input. Erin is an asset to the teaching staff at MCAC."
"It was a great class. Reigniting interest in clay working."
"Erin did a nice job preparing for the class. It was nice to have written and materials. She also shared book and videos to supplement the course information."
"Ability to work independently on projects and, suggestions/direction provided by Erin. Her suggestions built on my skill level and moved me forward."
*all photos courtesy of the Artist (Erin Furimsky)