Amanda Syler and Roberta unload the soda kiln at Lillstreet, Chicago, IL • 2014

Amanda Syler and Roberta unload the soda kiln at Lillstreet, Chicago, IL • 2014

Roberta welds at the Uttich-Orozco studio in Grayslake, IL • 2015  

Roberta welds at the Uttich-Orozco studio in Grayslake, IL • 2015

 

roberta ulrich-de oliveira

Thank you for visiting my site

I am happy to be working as an artist. My media is usually clay, but recently I’ve been welding metal to support, display, and complement ceramic objects. My path to making has been constant, although circuitous, with professional time being applied as a potter, graphic designer, and art educator.  My hope is to create work inspired by subconscious and intuitive leanings with triggers from gestures, memories, and patterns. Why do I make objects? It is a way for me to express feeling and thought about my experience as a human; it connects me to the earth, her inhabitants, and my own shadowed light.

expression through process

Construction

Vessels and objects are constructed using both hand-built and wheel-thrown techniques. I stretch and manipulate the clay when it’s very wet, and then refine and tweak forms as they go through leather-hard and almost-dry phases. Often, I use scraps from trimming and remnant slabs as components in my work.

Surfaces

Making marks on the surface of clay is a cartographic experience.  Gestural swipes with a slip-sodden brush and incised cuts from a knife or tool are incited by each vessel’s landscape. I imagine a loose history in the making with revisions, calculations, and priorities being recorded through the layers. I adjust and refine with each sequential mark; the dynamic process allows for transitions while preserving some memory of what’s already been documented.

Fire

Choosing to fire in atmospheric wood and soda kilns is best described as a risk with big payoffs and sometimes loss. The influence of ash powerfully alters and enhances slips and glazes chosen earlier, but carries the potential of obliteration. The flow of the fire has created a shift in my aesthetic appreciation of factors I have minimal control of. Balancing my design intentions and expectations with the serendipitous outcomes of atmospheric firing is a juggling act that proves deeply fulfilling and joyful.