Zola de Firmian - Fine Art Ceramics,
A Passion for Nature and Light
As both artist and educator, my passion is to transmit the beauty and power of the natural world: its gifts of balance, sanctuary, freedom. It's a healing place, our Earth.
My porcelain and stoneware pieces are hand-built, or they are cast, then carved, using simple molds of my own design. These pieces are one-of-a-kind. Custom tile design is a specialty, and I'm now creating a line of a limited series of artisan tiles in set - colorways.
I aim for a balanced tension between the rugged and refined, sometimes incorporating paper into porcelain to make translucent paper thin sheets. My painterly approach to glazing presents unique challenges. To work in clay, one layers aspects of technical-chemical balancing, then throws in fire and self. It's pure alchemy, ceramics!
I'm both humbled and at home with clay. I began making pots in the Arizona Mountains as a child, digging the beautiful red clay near my grandparents' spring. Currently I work in clay at my studio, and in the schools.
Many pivotal experiences for me were and are charged by this bond with precious earth:
- Walking as a child barefoot in silken creekbed mud, alone in nature, unafraid ~ at home.
- Collecting shards of Native American pottery by that creek with my grandmother, until one day she chose to stop, out of respect for what is truly sacred.
- Climbing at age five up a white clay bank on Whidbey Island. Sudden rainfall shifted ease to terror as I struggled to climb down, small feet sliding over the slippery-slick white clay.
- First seeing a ceramic artist at the university (my future husband) forming a porcelain bird bath bowl. It seemed a familiar beauty, as though it were something I'd been waiting long to see.
- The wild reward of encouraging young hands in creative work, muddied with clay... to see their eyes quicken with delight.
Such joy, reverence, terror and gratitude are all primal - rich and vital to the act of making art.
Reflecting ones inner spark in the shared arena of art is a kind of archeology of the soul. I dig for beauty - balance - and share it out of love. That sharing may at times ignite the spark of beauty-truth for others. This amazing prospect urges me to press on in challenging moments, to perfect the invitation.
B.A. in Humanities / Focus-Ceramic Arts, from Dominican University, San Rafael
Masters in Education and Multiple Subject teaching credential; also above
Certified Environmental Educator
© copyright 2010 - all rights to the images are retained by the artist