Christine Goh launched Clay Elements in the spring of 2017. A one-woman proprietorship featuring functional and sculptural ceramics designed and handcrafted in small runs. Clay Elements participates in select craft shows in DC, Maryland and Virginia, and is a member of the Glen Echo Park Pottery Gallery in Glen Echo Park, Maryland.
What is your current medium?
I am currently working with porcelain, stoneware and paper clay. I make both functional and decorative ceramic work.
Your background is in architecture, but your work is reminiscent of a lot of natural forms. Do you think architecture informs your work?
After graduating from the National University of Singapore with a Bachelor of Fine Arts and Bachelor of Architecture. I worked for architectural firms in Singapore and Tokyo for a decade. I worked in design teams with consultants exploring spatial and formal design concepts and building materials in both commercial and residential projects. Among my favorite architects are Frank Gehry and Zaha Hadid. Frank Gehry’s deconstructivism and Zaha Hadid’s radical designs continue to inspire me. While working in Japan, I greatly admired the minimal architectural style of Kazuyo Sejima, and the traditional pottery in museums and galleries. From conceptual design to developing construction details, most of my architectural drawings were produced on AutoCAD and other computer rendering software. Increasingly, I felt drawn to focus my creative journey on a craft that I could develop on a smaller personal scale. I chose clay, as it is a very accessible material, and the oldest form of craft that can be made into both fine and functional art.
In 2009, my husband’s work as a journalist moved our family from Boston to Bangkok, Thailand. It was there at Kasumi Katagiri ‘s pottery studio in the center of bustling Bangkok where I began to learn the basics of hand building and wheel throwing. In 2014, we moved to the DC area and settled down in Bethesda, Maryland. In 2017, Clay Elements was set up as my commitment to growing my craft.
As a ceramic artist, I explore the structural and aesthetic possibilities of clay through composite forms that are wheel thrown, altered, carved and assembled. I envision my ceramic works to eventually incorporate joinery details found in basketry and woodworking. My ceramic forms are canvases for hand painted glazes, slips and stains. I draw inspiration from nature; unusual creatures and plants, essences of seasons and landscapes.
I appreciate working around like-minded creatives in a communal environment. I enjoy the comradery in loading, firing and unloading a soda kiln as a team. A big shout out to Jeff Kirk, director of Glen Echo Pottery. I am thankful for Jeff’s Continuing Wheel class instruction and insightful critique. I would also like to thank Linda Epstein for all her guidance and work in keeping Glen Echo Pottery soda kiln roaring.
How has your studio practice changed since COVID?
The pandemic lock down brought my pottery production to a halt in March 2020. This event has caused me to pause, slow down and pay closer attention to the part I play in our environment, and what I make. I started painting on paper, mostly abstract surface patterns. It was in May 2020, that I participated in Rebecca Hutchinson’s 3-day paper clay online workshop. She opened the door to a whole new direction in making with paper clay. I fell right in with paper clay mono printing. I started experimenting more with porcelain, and firing at oxidation cone 6.
When working in my home studio space, I cannot do without music or audio books, incense and tea!
I like carving out the day in chunks of 1-2 hours. that allows me to focus on specific tasks to accomplish within the time frame.
What kind of work can viewers at home expect to see at Amuse at home?
I am excited to debut my clay monoprint series SHELL! These are hand-built porcelain forms that contain colorful monoprints inspired by landscapes and seasons. There will be small ‘shell’ dishes, and ‘postcard’ dishes. Hopefully, people will enjoy displaying and using them in their daily routine. A small selection of BLOSSOM Mugs in stoneware, will be available as well.
Visit Clay Elements at www.clayelements.com