Rita Strayer Ceramics



Rita Strayer Ceramics

About The Artist

Rita Strayer •
Ceramics • WHOLESALE AVAILABLE • CUSTOM COMMISSIONS

I am a 2006 graduate of Shippensburg University of Pennsylvania, where I earned a Bachelor's Degree in Fine Arts with a Ceramics Concentration. I've lived in Savannah, GA for the last 15 years, and transitioned to working as a full-time potter in 2021. My functional ware is wheel thrown, altered, and carved from white stoneware or porcelain, and is made to portray my vision as a maker, while always accommodating ergonomic comfort. I strive for an aesthetic that bears witness to the life-journey of a piece, contrasting carefully planned symmetry with spontaneous maker’s marks left behind by tools and my own hands. I hope to highlight the beauty that lies in the battle scars encountered along the way that must be born to build and reinforce the strength of a piece, as in all of us. Pieces from my “Lines” series typically undergo several firings, and feature organic designs created in the moment and applied by hand using tape for a relief effect.



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Q&A with the Artist

Tell us how your work is made.

My functional ware is wheel thrown, altered, and carved from white stoneware or porcelain, and is made to portray my vision as a maker, while always accommodating ergonomic comfort. I strive for an aesthetic that bears witness to the life-journey of a piece, contrasting carefully planned symmetry with spontaneous maker’s marks left behind by tools and my own hands. I hope to highlight the beauty that lies in the battle scars encountered along the way that must be born to build and reinforce the strength of a piece, as in all of us. Pieces from my “Lines” series typically undergo several firings, and feature organic designs created in the moment and applied by hand using tape for a relief effect.


What makes you passionate about the medium you work with?

From a young age, I felt that to impress my hands into clay has been an avenue for escape from the limitations in which femininity bound me; now, many years later I am a single mother and have navigated those limitations ten-fold. I work every day now to honor the girl I once was, and hope my example shows my own child to always question the mainstream, and to favor and respect a life of authenticity. Today I am proud to rely on the medium I once escaped into, as a means to tell stories of the struggles and oppression that clay couldn't save me from.

What is something unique about you or your practice?

My work portrays the ways that ceramics mimic the human condition: malleable in our putty-soft youth and hardened to strength by way of fire. Ceramic vessels are distinctly female to my mind; the cup, the pitcher, the vase: containers of life-giving nourishment, standing ready to serve, at the ready to hold and display pretty things for. In the eyes of some, the life phases and functions of a useful woman parallel the value-criteria for a piece of functional pottery. Ultimately, the pure intentions of a ceramic piece cannot also declare it's protection; we are all of us vulnerable to ruination in the wrong hands. Before a first firing, I evaluate all pieces, mining for imperfections or silhouettes that don't meet my vision. I destroy about 60% of the work I begin, reduced back to mud for a better reincarnation. By this method, this artists ego is kept in check to stay level with her heart. Every piece I produce is of heirloom-quality, & honors the earth it came from.