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Melissa Symmonds


What clay body do you use?

"I mainly use mid-fire paper clay from Aardvark.  For pieces destined for outside use, I use Grande."


Primary forming method?

"I hand build, usually using a modified coil process."


Primary firing temperature?

"Primary firing temperature is cone 5-6."


Favorite surface treatment?

"My surface treatment depends on the piece.  Since I make animals - it is fur, scales, etc.  I  almost exclusively use under glazes.  The only glaze I use is on the eyes or anything else that is shiny.  For a mammal - maybe the claws and if a reptile has spikes, they may be shiny.  Sometimes I use varnish  to add just a little shine."





Alejandro


Herbert (detail from Koala Tree)


with Bandit








Alejandro






Koala Tree

Favorite Tools?

"I have a lot of tools, but most frequently use a couple of wooden ones and 3 or 4 small metal sculpting tools."



Lily


Describe your studio environment.

"I took over the front room on my house when I lived in Houston.  Now I use a communal studio that is 10 minutes away.  It is setup with everything a person would want though not quite as convenient.  It does keep me from indulging my 'hermit' tendencies."








Jorge





Rose





Ursula






Edgar






Jorge






George






How/Where do you market and sell your artwork?

"I have sold via an install at the Silos, CH Clay Crawl, the Glassell Student Sale, and Georgetown installation.  Plus word of mouth. "




Diego






Martha (with Adam, Beatrice, Calvin, Donna, Edwin, Frances and Gordon)










Diego





Martha (with Adam, Beatrice, Calvin, Donna, Edwin, Frances and Gordon)




What sparks your creativity? What drives you to work with clay?

"I have made things ever since I can remember and I love animals; they all have such individual personalities.  I love researching each species and recreating the personalities I see.  Clay is the medium that best lends itself to creating my critters.  I usually start with what animal I want to make and then go looking for pictures.  I need one that speaks to me.  Then I have to find pictures that fill in the rest of the animal.  I may end up with a dozen or more to get it all right - e.g what does the back foot look like and how big is it relative to the overall size."             



Geraldine





The Lounger




Geraldine






The Lounger






Did you come to ceramics from a different career? Tell us about your journey to a ceramics career.

      "I was first introduced to ceramics in high school, where I fell in love with the medium.  I still have most of the pieces from that period, though they are somewhat the worse for wear after multiple moves.  Sadly, making a living intervened and I was unable to pursue ceramics except to take isolated classes.

       After retiring from a career in IT Management for the Petroleum Industry,  I returned to art as my new occupation.  I took classes at the Houston Museum of Fine Arts’ Glassell School of Art from 2014 - 2021.  Wanting to try different media, I took classes in Jewelry Making and Painting before returning to Ceramics as my medium of choice. 

      Since returning to Ceramics, I have been learning and creating steadily more complex pieces.  Each new animal is a different kind of challenge.  The best part is - I am still loving it!"



      The Quartet  (Sam, Jeremy, Gilbert and Larry)





      Tamara (with Sophia and Leo)





      Frank and Judy




      Tamara (with Sophia and Leo)





      How have you have taken your experience as a well-established maker in the field and passed that knowledge along to your other artists?

      "I have always helped those who could use a guiding hand.  I've taught a couple of classes and demonstrated my processes whenever asked."




        Annabelle (w/ Joey and Amy)





        Gillie



        Annabelle (w/ Joey and Amy)





        Cyrano

        What’s the best advice you’ve been given by a fellow maker, mentor, or teacher?

          It doesn't have to be perfect."



          Horace



          Howard



          Horace



          Howard



          Website URL and other social media platforms:

          https://www.artisticcreationsbyme.com/


          Bio:

          Melissa Symmonds grew up in a military family and moved around a Lot.  She then went to work in the oil industry and moved some more.  She has now moved to Georgetown, TX, after spending 23 years in Sugar Land, TX.

          She earned a BS in Mathematics and a BS in Petroleum Engineering from the New Mexico Institute of Mining and Technology.  She worked as a Petroleum Engineer for 15 years and then got her MS in Computer Science at Oklahoma State University.  She worked for a variety of oil companies in software design and development and then moved into IT management.   

          Retiring from the oil industry, she returned to her first love - ceramics.  She's been working in ceramics since 2016.


            clayhouston

            Address:
            PO Box 667401
            Houston, TX 77266

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