Gaby Bello

What clay body do you use?
"I have experience with all of them: porcelain, stoneware, earthenware. Each of them has their own and unique characteristics. Each of them is a unique adventure and I love the exposure to new discoveries. Possibilities are endless and I want them all."


    Primary forming method?

    "Hand building is my primary method for my sculpture work. Coils and slabs are my starting point. The truth is that when I want to immerse myself in my favorite world, what I want is to feel the clay in my hands, so I go with any hand-building technique I can. I also love the purity of the forms resulted from the wheel, so I keep trying to improve my skills on the wheel. I also work pouring molds for installations, use-ware or when I’m simply looking for canvas where to work. In such cases, casting slips is a good option."


    Primary firing temperature?

    "My answer should be mid to low temperature. They’re what I use the most since results are more predictable, easier to control. When I’m looking for color and challenging sculptures, I use low temperature. Mid-range is the perfect option when the goal is use-ware and maybe also beautiful results without the risk of the high temperatures. However, high temperature is what I like the most. I love when firing takes control and you as the builder can only present a piece to witness its own transformation into that beauty that only firing can make."


    Favorite surface treatment?

    "Pure clay body. Maybe some oxides added for altering the color or maybe something else, for a different texture, porosity, who knows…indeed, what I love is the own texture of the clay. Mother Nature needs no additives."



    2018 Anagama

    Installation

    Favorite Tools?

    "Wood tools for paddling, shaping and carving."

    Describe your studio environment.

    "My home studio is the perfect place to play with clay: two big working tables, shelves for drying, my wheel, one electric kiln, and two roller shades with different backgrounds for when it is picture time. I think that I have everything that I need and it’s open 24-hours, 7 days a week…so it’s perfect. I also work at Glassell. There, I have access to all ranges of firing techniques – kilns - and tools, and most importantly, the opportunity to share with very talented fellow artists. "

    2016 Red Vase (Low Fire)

    2013 Pit Firing



    2014 Puzzle (cone 5)

    2016 Serpentina (Low Fire)


    How/Where do you market and sell your artwork?

    "Instagram, Etsy, local markets and art events, and word of mouth."




    2017 Empty Bowl

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

    "It is the clay itself, no doubt about it. Sparks can be anything; I just want the making process while translating that “je ne sais pas” (I don't know what) into a piece that will last forever."

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

      "Yes, I’m an Electric and Telecommunication engineer working in the Oil & Gas industry. Always academic, I discovered that my creativity side of the brain can also work when my sister became an Architecture student. I started working on her slides (no power point slides…hahaha) and 3D models and then became hired by graduate students for making their 3D models as well. As a mom of two beautiful daughters involved in all kind of after school activities, I made costumes, stages, stationery, party decorations, baking and cake decoration, painting, origami, flamenco dresses, tou-tou dresses. Yes! I love fashion design and confection too.

      Why ceramic? Mmmh, I’m originally from Venezuela where you can find such a huge selection of earthenware and stoneware pieces. There, you can find entire communities dedicated to ceramics. I loved them all. I enjoyed just visiting locally and on galleries. They were my most important source of inspiration…Instead of becoming a collector; I wanted to become a maker. I wanted my own pieces for highlighting a delicious meal or maybe for highlighting that empty corner that now looks glorious just because a piece met its perfect niche…or just maybe for telling the history that words can’t."


      2017 3-Foot Bowl

      2018 4 Clay Body

      How have you have taken your experience as a well-established maker in the field and passed that knowledge along to other artists?
        "No, I’m still on my learning curve. I cannot get steady while there are so many other things and techniques to learn about. Every single day, the media brings all sort of inspiration from any corner of the world that I keep researching about and challenging myself with. Whatever I learn, I share on the very same way that my fellows have always shared with me. That’s one of the beauties of Glassell and this Houstonian community."

        2017 Square Bottle

        2017 Ring Plate

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

          “Clay has memory”. I remember my first semester at Glassell (around 2008), when my teacher Kellie Eggert said: “Clay has memory”. That’s true! I believe Kellie was referring to how a piece of clay will always recall that bending, cut or maybe a crack that you wanted to forget, but she (the clay) never will. For me, it meant something else, clay has its own memory: a piece is born when an artist can translate a thought…a memory he/she wants to treasure into a piece of clay, the clay confronts the fire and survives to become the ultimate witness of that memory. Clay is its own memory and will survive forever…



          Website URL and other social media platforms:

          Instagram: claybygaby


          claybygaby@hotmail.com


          www.etsy.com/shop/claybygaby


            Bio: 

            I am an engineer and an artist who enjoys the beauty of the fine arts as the perfect complement to my daily lifestyle. I formally started arts education when I took my first ceramic’s class in the “Museo de las Artes del Fuego” (Museum of Fired Arts) in Caracas, Venezuela, my hometown. After moving to Houston on 2007, I became a student of Glassell, always in the field of ceramics. I have now reached the advanced level and love to continue perfecting my techniques and learning from my peers. I love visiting museums all around the world and of course, living in Houston has been a perfect home to my artistic identity. All the artistic activity that sparks around here inspires me on a daily basis.

              Contact ClayHouston at info@ClayHouston.org

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