IAEA celebrates the work of professional artists in Illinois. We are thrilled to announce our 2018 featured artist, Melissa Monroe. A full-color poster was mailed to members in the March Mosaic. Digital images of her work are featured along with lesson ideas in the links below.
If you are interested in developing a lesson plan for our 2019 featured artist, please contact Heidi O’Hanley @ email@example.com
Artist Statement: The appeal of working in clay is that you can mold it, fire it and turn it into something that is permanent. I make a representation of a flower and freeze it in time. When I create a flower in clay, I am not trying to make a real flower. I am sculpting the feeling of a flower. It is something playful, beautiful and abstract. I love sculpting different variations of nature including women. I love creating vases of women with full and wild hair. The women’s faces give subtle cues to mood and feeling. The hair shows the thoughts and interior spirit of the woman in each sculpture. It is the wild hair and spirit of these pieces that I hope connects with people on an emotional level.
Melissa Monroe is a lifelong Illinoisan, having been raised in Galesburg and now living in the Chicago suburbs with her family. Melissa has a bachelor’s degree in liberal arts from Knox College with a studio art major in ceramics and painting. She sells her ceramic art at shows in the Chicago area and at fine stores and works with chefs to create custom dishware for their restaurants.
“When I started working in clay in college it was impossible to predict the places it would take me. It has been fun journey of farm dinners where I provide dishes, the art show circuit in Chicago, and gallery shows. As I have grown in my work I find my creativity divided into two camps: the functional and the sculptural. My functional work has become focused on working directly with customers creating custom plate ware for their homes and businesses. I love to sit down to a day of throwing and trimming all of these commissions and getting the satisfaction of the matching sets of bowls and plates. The second part of my art is the creative sculptural side – making wild abstracted flowers and sculptural vases, bottles and jars. These are the objects of imagination and whimsy. I hope that both of my camps of artwork provide a connection with each person either in daily use or visual connection.”
Melissa continues to explore and grow artistically. She uses new clay bodies and mixes new glazes to achieve interesting and original effects. She continues to expand her sculptural body of work by making larger sculptures and more intricate pieces. “As I continue to create sculptures and intricate forms, I find that I connect more and more to the people who own these pieces. I love knowing that what I make can bring joy.”