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Lynnette Hesser
      I walked down the hill at Denison University to visit a friend who was taking a ceramics throwing class in the huge old building near the bottom of the hill and fell in love, with clay. From my first Ceramics class with Chris Bunge, I began carving the clay and making pedestal feet for my pieces which I still do today. I received my BA from Denison in 1980 and had a short internship with functional Potter Karl Christiansen in Iowa, I was tremendously lucky to take a semester at Santa Fe Community College in Gainesville, Florida with John Tilton while I was waiting to begin work on my BFA at the University of Florida. John instilled in me the qualities of cleanliness of shape and line created by the form. I went on to study historic classical shapes of pottery and attended a workshop with Tom Turner who further pointed the way towards the perfection of form which I have learned is an ever-evolving study.
      After I received my BFA in 1982 and then my MFA in Ceramics from the University of Florida in 1985, I managed the Ceramics Department for one year at which time Steve Loucks came to be the Visiting Ceramics Instructor. We have been together ever since collaborating on work and our family here in Alabama where we both taught at Jacksonville State University. We have developed a 2600 sq ft studio for our ceramics, flameworking, woodworking, and some metalworking which is still a work-in-progress. We chose early retirement to devote more time to the making of our artwork and teaching workshops across the country. We volunteer for the Alabama State Council on the Arts and the Alabama Craft Council and hosted the Alabama Clay Conference in 2016 which is one of our ways of giving back to the art community. Another is to conduct workshops together. We share wheel throwing and handbuilding techniques that we have either developed or built upon. (See the Workshop page for more information.) I have also been the Show Chair for my guild the Alabama Designer Craftsmen and am now a juried member of the Southern Highland Craft Guild.
      My work celebrates pattern and captures the essence of flowers as I relate the geometric design or type of flowers and leaves that I carve into the surface of the form to the shape of each clay piece. The intricacy and subtle simplicity of the delicate patterns and designs are deeply carved for a realistic three-dimensional quality. I also like to play the positive and negative space using reticulation- carving all the way through the piece. My sculptural work relates to nature especially mushroom, fungus, or coral clusters that come from observation and my imagination. Those pieces are usually made from extremely thin soft slabs of clay that are joined then puffed to create the undulating shapes that comprise the total form. I may use sprigs made from my carved flowers to accent a piece and add embellishments to create deeper depth for the illusion of realism. I use white stoneware and porcelain and fire to cones 6 or 10 in electric and gas kilns. Depending on each piece, I may use only one glaze or multiple glazes with a possible lustre added in another firing for a mother of pearl effect.
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