Shirley Gromen Ceramics

Shirley Gromen Ceramics

About The Artist

Shirley Gromen • Ridge, MD

Shirley Gromen received her MFA in ceramics from The Ohio State University. She worked many years as a graphic designer before returning to the clay studio. She works out of her studio on Southern Maryland inspired by the ever-changing natural world of the Chesapeake Bay watershed. She interprets different species of birds and fish on functional and sculptural porcelain forms hoping to bring to the user an awareness and appreciation of the variety of interdependent life that surrounds us.


Artist website

Q&A with the Artist

Tell us how your work is made.

Using a mid-range porcelain clay body I throw or handbuild my forms. I use carving, mishima (a line is incised into the form which is then filled with a colored slip. The excess is scraped away to reveal a fine line) and sgraffito (the form is painted with a black slip, the image is created by carving away the black to reveal the white clay body.) techniques to create the drawing. After a bisque firing the interior of the forms are glazed with teal, black or clear glaze and fired to cone 6.

What makes you passionate about the medium you work with?

From the first day I walked into the ceramic studio as an undergraduate student, clay captivated me with the possibilities of combining the 3-dimensional form with 2-dimensional imagery. When I think of my influences and why I love working in clay I see my grandmother’s Limoges china that she carried from Europe in 1914, my mother’s Imari china plates from Japan that decorated our dining room walls and the china cabinet filled with porcelain teacups with saucers.

What is something unique about you or your practice?

Growing up in Maryland meant spending summers on the Cheseapeake Bay. Some days I would join my father when he went charter fishing. Rockfish, bluefish, blowfish, and other species might make up that days catch. Seagulls and pelicans were the indicators of where fish might be found. Saturday nights, long hours were spent at the dinner table picking crabs. It is the imagery of these days that populate the surface of my forms.