Sue Tirrell Contemporary American Frontier Ceramic Artist
Perusing the periodical section at the library, I noticed Ceramics Monthly due to the impressive painted piece on the cover. Full of vibrant colors, movement and design, I couldn’t resist picking it up and investigating further. The image is of a horse, rearing up surrounded by brightly colored flowers. The artist is Sue Tirrell, who carves and paints on ceramic in such a unique and timeless format that has been used since 3800 BCE. This article explains the technique of hand painting pictures on ceramic pieces, and its usages across continents over the centuries since ancient times. It is still relevant today.
Sue Tirrell’s work really is captivating, because not only do her pieces show vivid images of animals, they also convey folk tales that we all can relate to. For example, in her piece Black Animal Stack Platter, a cow, a pig, a goat and a chicken are stacked on top of one another. All in black, they contrast markedly among the brightly colored flowers surrounding them. For anyone interested in this country farm style, this plate will surely amuse. However, that’s not all. The image also brings to mind the infamous book Animal Farm by George Orwell, which pulls the viewer into the rabbit hole of art and perspective: What do artists intend to convey in their art? What are potential meanings the art could deliver regardless of the artists’ intentions?
This article is packed full of these questions all artists must ask themselves. Narrative, allegory and celebration: these are ideas that Sue Tirrell really gets inspiration from. Her work is definitely worth a peek, and quite possibly an inquiry.
Read the article!
Buck, Andrew (Feb 2018). Sue Tirrell Contemporary American Frontier Ceramic Artist. Ceramics Monthly, Pages 32-35