Katie White grew up on a farm in Northern Illinois in the small town of Stockton. Farm life instilled a valuable work ethic as well as an appreciation for nature. She took an interest in art at a young age but it wasn’t until college that she took her first ceramics class and fell in love with clay as a material. She received her Bachelor of Fine Arts in Ceramics in the Spring of 2012 from Northern Illinois University where she met and graduated with fellow ceramic artist, Scott Steder. They traveled together to Knoxville, Tennessee in the Fall, where Scott participated in a Post-Bachelor program at the University of Tennessee and Katie was a member of The Art Market Gallery. The next year, they moved to Appomattox, Virginia where they collaborated on a ceramic residency at the Cub Creek Foundation. Scott was accepted into the WSU Masters Program in ceramics in the Fall of 2014, bringing the artist couple to Wichita, Kansas. Katie currently works at The Wichita Art Museum and has been showing and selling her ceramic sculpture, jewelry, and functional ware in galleries, shops, and craft shows across the country including, Rueben Saunders Gallery in Wichita. Katie was recently accepted as a Short-term Resident Artist at Red Lodge Clay Center in Red Lodge, Montana and is excited to start the next chapter in her career as a ceramic artist.
The Spiral itself is one of the oldest symbols. It represents change, progression, growth, and development. The egg is an obvious symbol for beginning and is also associated with ideas of fertility, regeneration, and immortality. For the past few years, I have been obsessively making a form that combines these two symbols: an egg shape with a carved spiral flowing down the body. This form was inspired by those found in nature. In a way, the egg is like a seed and the spiral is the force that generates its transformation into something else. The repetition and increase in scale implies a sense of eternity or, at least, a sense of future. It forces the viewer to consider what will come next. The use of this common form evokes a desire to create narrative. Where do they originate? What do they become? When the egg is whole, there is a mystery about what the interior holds. When the form is split, it seems that the contents have escaped and we are left looking at an empty shell or skeleton. I have made hundreds of these eggs in different sizes, out of different clays, and in different types of firings. I am to the point where concentration on the pattern is no longer needed. I can pick up a ball of clay in any size and begin shaping and carving and my mind is free to wander in a type of meditation. A larger piece must be sliced in half, hollowed out, and reunited. Recently, I have been writing thoughts and secrets on the inside walls before reattaching the halves. They are each a little incapsulated record of what I was thinking at the time. Their inner thoughts will never be known unless some sort of disaster occurs. I prefer to fire in soda, salt, or wood kilns since the smooth surfaces and deep groves are accentuated in atmospheric situations.
The way I work is very meticulous and usually involves intricate detail. I use a variety of hand-building and wheel throwing techniques, but hand carving is always involved. Each piece is usually quite labour intensive and time consuming but only in the most serene ways. Feelings of stress and anxiety leave me when faced with a blank form, ready to be carved. I find contentment knowing that this one repetitive motion right here in this one place is what I will be doing for the next few hours. There is a strong sense of satisfaction that results from completing something that took so many small actions to accomplish. Due to this, I have trouble walking away from a piece or a task unfinished. My forms possess a striking beauty when placed amongst each other. I want them to create a calm and soothing environment that is balanced and alluring. They invite the viewer’s mind to wander and drift away with their own interpretation.