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Life Arts

A Local Potter's Fascination with Arizonan Clay

By       Message Connor Showalter     Permalink
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She spends four hours a day on her pots and bowls in a small rural community, while a Native American style discovered on the other side of the country inspires her creative drive to construct art with vibrant colors and patterns.

Abigail Kurecian is a potter and painter who lives in Orangeville. The artwork she encountered while living in Arizona for 12 years still shows up in the work she does today. "I haven't necessarily taken the Native American art and tried to duplicate it, but it's been an influence," Kurecian says. "I pulled a lot off of their pottery shapes and designs."

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Kurecian says she first wanted to be an artist when she was about seven years old. She learned how to mold and shape clay on a potter's wheel three years later. As a young artist she attended workshops at her future high school, the Norwich Free Academy in Connecticut, and went to college at the Art Institute in Boston as a painting and illustration major. Afterward, she was ready for a change in her life.

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"I was sick of the cold and ready for a fresh start, so I moved out to Arizona," she says. It was in Mesa where she found an art center and rediscovered her passion for ceramics. "It was like a gold mine as far as clay. It was a great springboard for me, a lot of different influences, she recalls."

At least three times a week she took classes at the museum, while also participating in winter workshops with major artists. "The Arizona winters were nice because for the most part it was 80 degrees," she says, "so all the Minnesota potters or the Pennsylvania potters wanted to go Arizona to do a workshop."

Kurecian is devoted to thinking of new ways to make her pots or bowls. "My inspiration comes out of a whole lot of different places, not necessarily art, but shapes in nature," she says. "I do a lot of thinking through in my head to just walk myself through throwing the clay, a lot of times that's how I will get a new shape," she says, noting she doesn't "like doing the same thing all the time."

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In the middle of her living room, a table that she painted for her daughter's first birthday, is prominently displayed. The table presents large butterflies stretching their wings while they emerge from a border of different colored suns. Kurecian says that the colors she saw in Arizona, specifically on Indian rugs, cross her mind while she creates her art.

Kurecian says that color has always been an important part of her creativity, but she experienced the colors to be more "earthy" and influential in Arizona. "We come back here and think, 'That's foliage, wow!' and you go out there and the colors are very different and subtle." She also says the Sonora desert changed the way she sees colors. "You've got this barren desert and this screaming-green cactus in it, the flowers shooting off," Kurecian says. "You have these little blasts of color in the middle of nothing."

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Connor Showalter is a sophomore Journalism and Sociology student at Bloomsburg University (Pa.).

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