Donna Causland is a ceramic artist who lives in Silverthorne, a small town in the Colorado Rockies. Born in 1954 in Cleveland, Ohio, she graduated from the University of Cincinnati in 1977 with a degree in Fine Art. She has traveled extensively and enjoys working in ceramic residencies in addition to maintaining a studio in Colorado. She spends 18 weeks in the summer selling her work at the Aspen Saturday Market and the Vail Farmer’s Market and Art Show (on Sundays) to earn her living. The rest of the year is spent traveling, working, researching, attending conferences, and seeking out “Ceramic Adventures”. She lives with her Architect/Rancher husband, a dog, a cat, and a fold of Highland cattle.
I view the world through the diverse traditions of ceramics. What we know about past civilizations comes from bone and ceramic remains. What appeals to me as a ceramic artist is what the ancient potter was thinking and experiencing and why they were making the pot.
Therefore, I am drawn to the History of Ceramics and enjoy the study and research. I am particularly interested in Chinese traditions, the development of porcelain and its trade, Victorian Majolica, Palissy ware of Portugal, Spain, and France, pre-Columbian clay work, and Southwestern American Anasazi cultures work, especially that of the Mimbres culture. I love the skill developed in Europe, i.e. Meissen, Capo di Monte, Sevres porcelain, English bone china, and Belleek. So far.
This passion inspires me to travel to experience the cultures that produced these pieces. I find working in the contemporary cultures of these traditions fires me in an exponential way to improve my work and visions. It also brings me understanding of different people as we are connected by our common thread: clay.
I use the teapot and the centerpiece forms as stages for dramas or collections of relationships. The historic function of teapots and centerpieces are tools for human interaction, namely tea time and dining. The function of elaborate decoration of these tools is to visually entertain and hopefully delight the participants. This brings up the concept of the “conversation piece”. Much of my work is inspired by the idea of conversation pieces of the Victorian Era. During world exploration, many specimens were bought back to Europe and re-created in clay, the finest being porcelain. Fast-forward to 2019, we are absorbed in our technology and devices. Where did the conversation go? It is my hope that my work catches the viewers eye and sparks conversation/ interaction. I use many layers of imagery, both two and three dimensional to draw the eye into the complex. The varieties of shapes, images, and colors call out to a viewer’s own tastes and interests. A rose is meaningful to many people for a variety of reasons, as the Crow is pleased by the contents of its nest. And like crows, we are all attracted to pretty, shiny things. (on some level!)