Carlin McRae

Lives in Chattanooga

I have been working in clay since 2006 and received a BFA in Sculpture and Ceramics from the University of Tennesee at Chattanooga in 2010. I am a volunteer teacher at Scenic City Clay Arts and find enjoyment in educating students in clay.

I have always focused on how far I can push the medium and delight in achieving animation and movement, even precariousness. Early on in my career, the work of Eva Zeisel, Deborah Schwartzkopf, Gay Smith and Sam Chung were all major influences on the direction of my pots – each artist offering something new and intriguing to inspire my designs.

Recently, I have found inspiration in my physical surroundings – being employed at a natural underground attraction, I study how water erodes, shapes and alters stone. I find beauty in the time it takes to create patterns in rock and use this process as a metaphor for how our experiences shape our psyches. I use texture, line, light and shadow to demonstrate how we respond internally to trauma, joy, love, tragedy and so forth.

Working in clay has been an intimate experience for me. I am shaping my thoughts, my emotions, into form. I find the process therapeutic and calming. I spend hours, days and weeks on a single piece – throwing the body, then altering the shape, deciding the direction and type of carving and finally how the handle, lid or spout relates to the form. My work is meant to be touched – I want the viewer to run their fingers over every detail, through every carving and around every rim.


Black Vase

Stoneware Clay

dark vase displayed on a black wall

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