Susan Harris is Professor of Art & Design at Southern Utah University, where she has taught Ceramics, Sculpture and Three Dimensional Design since 1996. She received a BA degree in anthropology from the University of Illinois, Champaign-Urbana, and her MFA in ceramics from Utah State University. For 17 years, she taught as Artist-in-Residence at the Alliance for the Varied Arts in Logan, while also teaching workshops nationally. Her work has been exhibited throughout the U.S. and internationally, in solo and group exhibitions, and can be seen in public and private collections throughout Utah, the United States, Europe, Australia and Asia. It has appeared in many publications, including 21st Century Ceramics in the United States and Canada, Ceramics Monthly, Ceramics Art & Perception and many other books. She has taught workshops in Universities, Art Centers and Craft Residency Programs. She is a Fellow of the National Council on Education for the Ceramic Arts.
My ceramic work evolves from my long-held fascination with artifacts from the past, most notably ancient oriental and Etruscan bronze ritual vessels. I am preoccupied with the mysterious purposes, intricate surface details and mythological symbols, which characterize these objects. Using clay instead of metal, not to mention a contemporary rather than ancient temperament, I challenge myself to re-interpret their forms and meanings.
Recent works continue to reference techniques and forms I have explored in the past. They are fired in a variety of processes, especially reduction cooling, where no glaze is applied to the external surface of the works in order to retain crisp and intricate textural details. The appearance is reminiscent of wrought iron and other ancient metals. It has been a logical step for me to investigate similar forms with greater functional intent, and to finish them with the addition of color and pattern resulting from atmospheric firings in salt and wood fired kilns.
I enjoy the fact that my pieces do not speak of this time and place in history, but could exist at any moment in the past or future as well.