I have been working in clay since I was a little thing and made my first sculpture, an ice cream sundae, followed closely by a pair of owls on a log, both of which are still in my collection!
I studied ceramics in earnest during college, then spent the next 10 or so years honing my technical skills during studio exchanges and work studies in private and community studios. Finally, after learning what I could through sheer trial and error, (still the best teachers, I believe) yet still yearning for serious feedback and aesthetic criticism, I went back to graduate school. I received my MFA from the School for American Crafts at the Rochester Institute of Technology in 2005. Ready to take on the world, I moved back to Vermont soon after, and in 2008 launched Tabbatha Henry Designs.
The process of ceramics has fascinated me since my Intro to Ceramics class in college (or, judging by those owls, even longer than that). When working in clay, the first thing one might notice is a dialogue that emerges between themselves and the clay. Whether trying something for the first time, or making something for the 100th time, there must exist an understanding between maker and material. Really, it is the maker who must come to understand the material, but through doing so, the material becomes limitless. My challenge, and perhaps everyone's who has ever worked in clay, has been to find the sweet spot between my needs and the capabilities of the material. If the clay does not abide, then I, my approach, or my attitude, must work around it. The process can be humbling and challenging, and keeps me on my toes. Once I find that place though, the only limit is my imagination and willingness, or not, to succumb to the material.
I am of course inspired by the winter landscape here in Vermont. The ever-changing subtleties of light and shadows and the resulting shapes and patterns are a constant source of awe. Hiking through the woods and noticing the intricacies of the moss, the composition of leaves fallen on the ground now covered with frost, dark branches against the grey sky as they splay out from the trees, or the path of the half frozen river…though I have seen these things a million times, somehow it is always new and magical, as if for the first time.
The influence of nature in this way, along with my love for the simple clean lines of Scandinavian design inspires me to make beautiful objects that even the most discerning animal would have in its den.