IMG_5104                    Erin Mahoney Patterson  *  Green Toad Studio


My work is an exploration of both the complexity of nature and the deep recesses of my memory.  I grew up scouring the woods, turning over stones to examine trails of ants, breaking open rotted wood hunting for termites, and searching the shores of Cape Cod for oceanic treasures.  Rocks grown crusty with barnacles and periwinkles lined the shore as we walked, beckoning curious observers to come closer and investigate what mysteries lay between cracks and in tide pools.  I was both fascinated and repulsed by the creatures and forms found within: clusters of eggs, crustacean body parts, slippery tentacles.  These things work their way into my pieces as a form of exposure therapy; I am disgusted as I sculpt but I feel I must visually represent these memories and feelings in the form of sculpture.  Many creatures and plants that draw the observer in with bright colors or intricate textures turn out to be dangerous or poisonous.  My most recent works investigate this dichotomy, presenting the complex forms and textures found in nature and weaving in a sense of uneasiness hiding just beneath the surface.

I work mostly with porcelain clay, though if a piece is too fragile to fire to that high of a temperature I use white earthenware.  Most of my work begins on the pottery wheel, where I throw a base form.  Then I add small hand-sculpted details to create a more sculptural piece.  It is important to me that most of my work be functional, as this hearkens back to the original intent of pottery.  Some of my forms include vases, mugs and bowls, and my favorite form to create is a teapot.  I love the complexity of the form, and the challenge of making each part work together as a whole both visually and physically.  Occasionally I will create a self-indulgent sculptural piece with no function, and these serve as tangible representations of ideas I am working out that eventually make their way into a functional piece.

I am a ceramic and jewelry artist, a teacher, a wife and a mom.   I have a bachelor’s degree in Ceramics from the Massachusetts College of Art, and a Master’s in Art Education from Framingham State University. My full-time job is teaching high school art, and I teach elementary students in an after school program and adults through night classes.  In my spare time, I create my personal artwork out of a home studio which I have nicknamed Green Toad Studio.  I love experimenting with new designs, and my artwork is very eclectic in style. I also enjoy working with a buyer to create artwork that they love–contact me at pattersonceramics@gmail.com and we can discuss a custom piece!

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