Newburyport Art (NAA) presents Out of the Fire: Expressions in Clay, a Featured Artist exhibition by Nancy S Cahan. Out of the Fire: Expressions in Clay is on view in the Hills Gallery from November 3rd to November 12th. Nancy’s exhibit features some of her favorite pieces from past and current work. A reception will be held on Saturday, November 4th from 5:00pm – 7:00pm to celebrate her work.
Nancy’s ceramic art explores themes of female sensuality, connection and loss, a search for beauty during the pandemic, politics, and pieces that bring her joy. A majority of the pieces in this show were created using raku and saggar firing. Raku-firing is a Japanese firing technique where pieces are placed in metal cans with combustible materials and covered. This process yields unusual colors, textures, and metallic effects. Saggar firing involves placing a ceramic piece in a sagger, and filling it with natural combustables that create a variety of effects on the piece. Pieces of copper may be added prior to firing to achieve strong black shapes. The combustibles create a fuming, which result in (often) un-predictable results of great beauty.
Nancy is inspired by the natural world and the complexity of being human. Her background as a psychologist influences her work, and she is particularly drawn to rough-edged sculptural forms. Nancy writes, “this way of seeing dovetails with my work as a psychologist, as I believe we need to soften and integrate our rough edges, not get rid of them.” She has worked with clay for the past 40 years, and has found it to be a rewarding medium to work with. She enjoys the complexities of working with clay, which has taught her to be patient and respectful. While she typically begins a new piece with a preconceived idea of what she wants to create, the outcome is often a surprise.