Fashion inspired Witt’s imitation pottery| Instant News

Verna Witt can get lost making art in his Marvin Gardens Studio. Photo courtesy of Verna Witt

By Lee Noles

MARVIN – Studio for an artist like a cathedral for a priest: home, shelter, place of reflection and inspiration can take many forms.

Large attics, secluded basements and everyday garages are just a few places that prove to be decent work spaces to refresh the creative process.

A converted horse barn surrounded by nature is a place of Verna Witt’s silence, and that has allowed the residents of Union County to get lost in his art work which began at leading fashion schools in New York and continues in showrooms around the Southeast.

I make zones, relax and create, “Witt said of his studio. “This is a Zen experience. I can’t even tell you how it inspired me to work. ”

Witt’s induction into the art world began in childhood when he watched his mother sew in their Long Island home. It continued as a young adult with a pottery class, but was postponed because marriage, family and work set a precedent. However, all that changed when Witt decided to enroll at the prestigious Fashion Technology Institute when he was 40 years old. He learned from carpenter Toshio Odate and took classes from famous sculptor and graphic artist Chaim Gross.

What I learned from Odate is Japanese aesthetics and every artist must appreciate their tools. He is just a quiet and quiet man, “said Witt. “From Chaim, I learned the basic figurative structure. I learned the basics of how to sculpt the body from clay. “

Witt graduated from the institute and moved to North Carolina in 1996. He worked for a textile company as a designer for several years. The textile industry is changing and as more jobs are lost and factories close, Witt decides to become a full-time artist by making pottery with a twist.

Instead of doing typical vases and pottery that are much in demand by pottery makers, Witt focuses on artificial pottery. Discipline involves artists taking clay and designing it with a realistic appearance. Witt makes handbags and purses that are true to life at a glance up to straps and zippers.

When someone came to my store, I had a customer who said, ‘Oh my handbag doesn’t need another handbag,’ “Witt said about the confusion between the artwork and the original item.” The next person was happy that it was a handbag until they realized it was clay. But the third one was interested, and we started talking. “

The process starts with Witt rolling some clay mounds before deciding what pieces to cut. He then placed the clay on the table and created the shape he wanted before letting the soil dry for several days. The clay is then placed in an electric kiln for 13 to 14 hours at 2,000 degrees. Glazing followed with Witt using light brown, red clay, medium brown and brown to resemble the bag that he was imitating.

I like working with my hands and feeling it. “Witt said.” It does what I want without struggling. This is a good median to work with and if it doesn’t work, you hit it and start all over again. You just recycle without a lot of investment. “

Witt has brought his experience as a textile designer to his pottery through a series he called “All Dressed Up.” The vase resembles the clothes Witt created in the fashion couture using colored clay.

He has also changed his focus to work on Japanese-style pottery called Kohiki. Pottery began in the 14th century and involved creamy clay that was elevated through brush strokes.

I only do what the clay says to me, “said Witt. “It’s good to play on the ground. It feels like being a child again. “

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