Keely Perkins of Stone’s Throw Pottery has a delightful body of work. ABI caught up with her to find out more about this fascinating artist.
ABI: What is your background and how did you get started in ceramics?
KP: I have always been a draftsman and painter. Mark making is my first love. I received a BFA in 2D art and a Master’s in Education from Louisiana Tech University. As part of the Fine Art program I took Pottery 101, and it was the only C I received in college. After I graduated I moved back to Montana where I took pottery night classes at the local art center.
I loved that I made something I could hold and use, something that needed to be cleaned and taken care of. I discovered Amaco Underglazes and found that I could paint with them on the surface of my pots. I was able to create a functional canvas for my paintings.
ABI: Tell us about your process.
KP: I throw my pots using a white stoneware from the Archie Bray Foundation in Helena, MT. After they have been fired to a cone 06, I decorate the surfaces using Amaco Underglazes to bring the animal or fish or bird on it to life. I paint them the same way I would a watercolor, light to dark. Then add the line work to the background with a small squeeze bottle originally designed for the application of Henna Tattoos. After the decoration is complete, I dip them in a clear glaze and fire them to cone 6.
ABI: How do you sell your artwork?
KP: I sell my artwork at a few local booth shows in Montana. I also am represented by a handful of regional galleries. I can be contacted on my Facebook page about pieces I have posted or can be messaged for commissioned work. Commissions are where I see the bulk of my business. It seems I have painted almost every kind of critter imaginable on one kind of pot or another.
ABI: How do you organize your time?
KP: Right now my life is kind of a juggling act. I am a full time Elementary Art teacher. I teach kindergarten through 6th grade at three different schools. I am wife and Mom to a two and three year old. I have my pottery and painting business, and until this year I have been a high school track coach. I would not say that I am organized; I think the word is regimented.
At work I am a teacher, when I am with my girls and husband I am Mom and Mrs., when I am on the track I am coach. After I have taken care of all these things, after the school bell rings, after the track shed is locked, after I have spent time with family and my girls are asleep for the night, then I am an artist.
I find inspiration in all the places and things I see and do before I sit down at my wheel or painting table. I am most inspired by children and see the wonder they feel when they see an animal or flower or any new thing we see every day.