The name Turning Grace Studio was a decision my whole family contributed to and agreed upon many years ago. We finally put a name to something I had long dreamed about. I did not have a wheel, kiln or studio space. I just had a dream that needed a name. The word Grace has many characteristics important to me. It is my grandmother’s first name and my middle name. Over the years the name and word Grace has grown to mean more about what I find in life, in pottery and how it applies to the creative process.
Throwing on the wheel is an enjoyable, soothing, peaceful and almost meditative process that’s become more enjoyable as time passes. On many occasions I work very late at night. In the quiet, I find myself feeling so fortunate and blessed to have my own studio and to work in this ancient but ever changing medium.
I have been working in clay since college at SUNY Potsdam, where I received a B.A. in Fine Arts. Since then I have taken many classes from different artists in clay. There was a period of years when I was preoccupied with the care of my three daughters. During this time I increasingly missed my clay days. In fact, I began to have “clay dreams”. Truly vivid ones that slowly drew me back to the wheel and the whole creative process which I love and crave.
The studio has been operating since 2000. Most of the work I create is functional ware in brown or white stoneware. I enjoy making a variety of pieces, from small mugs to large casseroles, small teapots to large lamps. These are all made with the intention that they will be used for generations. It is always my hope that they will be timeless. My teapots, for example, would have been appreciated 100 years ago, and I hope will be 100 years from now.
Nearly 30% of my new work is fired through a process called Raku. This is a unique and unusual means of firing and glazing imported to America from Japan about 60 years ago. I find each successful Raku piece to be exciting and unpredictable. They can be truly beautiful and a gift on a good firing day outdoors. The Raku pieces are not utilitarian, but rather are unique in their various glaze features that can show the wonderful effects of smoke and fire… different to the eye especially in varied light settings.
I enjoy the new creative avenues that are opening up, though I sometimes have to be pulled or pushed to try new ideas. Ultimately, what I really treasure in all pottery are the simple, functional, skillfully thrown pieces that can be enjoyed for years and even for generations.
Every step of the pottery process in my studio is completed wholly by my hands, except, thankfully, for digging up the clay! I hope you find something that you or someone else may enjoy for many years.
I have lived in Brentwood, Tennessee since 1992 with my husband Brian and three daughters Heather, Mary Ellen and Carolyn. All three daughters are married now with our wonderful grandchildren all living in this area. We are grateful!
– Catherine Grace McMurray