Marie-Elena Ottman, Ceramic Sculpture

Artist Talk Hosted by Louisville Clay at AA Clay Studio & Gallery September 11, 2018

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Louisville Clay members gathered at AA Clay for Artist Talk and Potluck
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President of Louisville Clay, Alex Adams introduces Marie-Elena Ottman

Marie-Elena Ottman is a Louisville based artist with a story worth telling. Louisville Clay members enjoyed seeing images of Marie-Elena’s fantastical ceramic art, while hearing her compelling personal story.

Iguana

Having grown up in Panama with an American father and Panamanian mother, Marie-Elena makes art about the symbiosis and the tension that can exist between two cultures. At age 21 she broke with tradition in Panama, where women stay at home until married, by emigrating to the United States to attend college in Montana. What followed was an art journey in which she has represented the integration of two cultures through visual metaphor.

Portrait-slide-Panama

Marie-Elena’s ceramic process is achieved through coil building and the use of extraordinary color. She also artfully combines glass with ceramics in her sculpture.

Her current images are derived from her homeland and include coconuts, cashews, iguanas, monkeys, coatimundis, exotic birds,Panamanian dress and vibrant color. The following images are metaphors about pregnancy, split personality, and greediness, among other life stories.

 

“I’ve learned to not forget culture, to embrace the past while also moving forward” said Marie-Elena as she closed her presentation. Ottman currently teaches Intro to Ceramics and Advanced Handbuilding at the University of Louisville. She and her husband have two children, ages 12 and 10, who are learning about their heritage by speaking Spanish as well as English.

Marie-art

Husband and Wife Invent Raku Pottery

Chojiro and his wife developed the raku technique

It all began in Japan. Here’s how it went down:

After 450 years of feudal conflicts, constant warring came to an end in the late 1500’s.

Zen philosophy, the belief that beauty resides in the simple, the quiet, and the imperfect, spread throughout the land. The tea ceremony embodied Zen philosophy.

The great tea master, Sen-no-Rikyu

A great tea master, Sen-no-Rikyu, officially promoted the clay works of Chojiro and his wife, who had developed the raku technique of making simple hand-made bowls.

The raku technique of respecting natural processes has continued to influence ceramic art worldwide.