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Claire Elise is a ceramicist based out of Des Moines, IA. In 2019 she received her B.A. in Studio Art with a Ceramics emphasis, from the University of Northern Iowa in Cedar Falls, IA.  While completing her B.A., she became the Ceramics Lab Technician for the Hearst Center for the Arts. She currently teaches ceramics at The Des Moines Arts Center, (Des Moines, IA) The Octagon Center for the Arts, (Ames, IA) and the Ankeny Arts Center (Ankeny IA)


         My work is a collection of self-portraits that surmise past moments, feelings and memories from my childhood. These are derived from having grown up in a stifling, emotionally abusive, and neglectful environment. I seek to encapsulate these personal struggles in order to discover who I am, and who I have been, and who I can become.

         My work explores various technical processes in order to achieve conceptual results. I often use a variety of processes such as piercing, water-etching, carving, sgraffito, mishima, inlay, etc. to bring both depth and visual interest to the work. The repeated motif/pattern I use is derived directly from my childhood- they are based on imagery I use to obsessively doodle as an escape from my day-to-day life. I use it in delicate and difficult ways to draw a parallel from the way it is used, to situations and moments in how I grew up. I also use it in a delicate and intimate way to drawn a parallel to my own femininity and discovery of self.

         In ceramics, I tend to work at a scale which emphasizes the importance of these emotional moments. I find that a larger scale gives a sense of enormity, and seriousness, while a smaller scale brings a sense of intimacy and delicacy to the work. Every texture, process,  detail and color I use is chosen to emphasize specific moments or feelings that I address in each piece. Much is derived from my childhood, and how encapsulating those feelings now, allows for reflection and growth as both a person and an artist.


         In my photography, I like to create scenes that also deal with these emotions. I find that this media allows me a different sense of exploration through the concepts that I am working with. Photography allows me to construct a sense of narrative, whether real or imagined, yet it still conveys an honest truth behind the feelings they evoke. While my work is very personal to me, I like creating scenes, and pieces in which the viewers can construct their own interpretation.


Artist Statement

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