My Life’s Work has been to Become An Extraordinary Clay Artist

Clay Artist Andree’s Statement

I am a clay artist using anthropomorphized animal forms to talk about the behaviors of people. Studying human behavior has always interested me. In the beginning, it was this interest in the animal forms that drove the process for me. Over time, human likes, dislikes, virtues and foibles all started to come out in my animal sculptures.

I live in Tucson Arizona, heart of the Sonoran desert, in a house on a hill with my cat.

What Elephant series

A few years ago I started a series called ‘What elephant?’ This references the common refrain about the invisible elephant in the room, which could be anything depending on your situation. I had fun making animal sculptures, where the subjects portrayed, moved through interpersonal relationships to family dynamics. Sometimes, individual behaviors were politically inspired until finally the elephant grew so large that the house couldn’t contain it.

Rhythm of a clay artist studio

I find the rhythms and cycles of working in the studio both soothing and frustrating. The nature of my medium demands that sometimes, no matter where I am in the making, the tyranny of the clay forces me to another part of the process. This can affect the outcomes in sometimes interesting ways. The delay can give me time to reconsider a choice and go another direction. Having spent my work life in the studio, it is the place I go for inspiration, diversion and meditation.

The journey has taken me to many places and allowed me to look inside issues and attitudes through the medium of clay.

As a clay artist, I have had the pleasure to display my work in galleries all over the United States. My sculptures can be found in various collections, both public and private. You can also find my clay sculptures in ASU Art Museum Ceramics Research Center, Phoenix Airport and the Houston Children’s Hospital. Whether whimsical or serious, I take great pride in creating a sculpture and derive a lot of satisfaction from people’s joy when they see it.

I received my art education and ceramic training in England and Wales, where I enjoyed comprehensive training in clay methods and techniques. While not always applicable to the work I do today, I am equipped to fully manipulate the medium of clay.

Review Andree Richmond’s Curriculum Vitae

Where my clay artist life story begins …

I was born in rural England, the West Country to be exact. Being close to nature and in a country where they love animals more than people, I quickly grew to love them too. Add to this the verdant greenness of southern England and plants became my second passion.

Clay artist Andree Richmond working in her Tucson studio
Clay artist Andree Richmond working in her Tucson studio

I always had the urge to make things. This first manifested in the usual predictable areas of sewing and stitchery, then moved on to other media. The propensity to create has been with me always and has led me to learn ways to make things using variety of materials.
My early college advisors encouraged me to studio mixed media, but I really loved clay. Clay has been my life’s work and my constant companion since.
Textiles were a close second and that influence can be seen in the narrative pieces.

My North Carolina Vacation

I moved back to Tucson, my adopted hometown after an extended sailing vacation on the coast of North Carolina, which lasted 14 years. I lived on the Pamlico Sound and sailed, swam and loved the nearness of the water. It was a fantastic privilege to sail every day. The thousands of ducks, pelicans, otters, deer and myriad other wildlife were right outside the window over my work table. It was an idyllic setting, until the water streamed across the studio floor when it rained. I enjoyed my time in North Carolina.

Clay Artist Returns to Tucson

One more cross country drive in 2018 and I came to rest here in the western foothills of Tucson with coyotes, screech owls and rattlesnakes.  I’m so thrilled to back in Tucson and it truly seems like my time away was just a very long vacation. Reconnecting with old friends and making new ones has been a great experience.

Settling in to the rhythms of desert life has been amazing

I am a maker and as a result, my houses always end up being long term projects. This one is no different. I view remodeling a house as working on a giant sculpture. When I moved into this house it had two living rooms which I did not need.  The one was just inside the front door became my studio.  This resulted in the unconventional experience of walking in the front door of the house and finding yourself in my production clay studio.  It seems normal to me and all my friends seem unfazed.
In between the home projects, I garden collecting cacti, ride horses and ride motorcycles fast on curvy roads.