Debra A. Ketchum Jircik
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I am captivated by the physical and tactile processes of creating in clay and handmade paper. I like working with these materials that are so close to nature and that also connect me to very ancient traditions. I find inspiration in my natural surroundings in Wisconsin's northwoods, in folk art, outsider art environments, sacred art and artifacts, the rough and the raw, the mystical and the quirky.
My current clay work is focused on figurative sculpture and mixed media birdhouses. These figures emerge from the clay, revealing their personalities while I'm in the process of sculpting them. Texture, slips, underglaze, glaze and found objects create layers of surface and meaning. My husband Greg collaborates with me in the creation of wood elements and incorporation of found objects in the pieces I design.
I grew up in Milwaukee, taking my first clay classes during the seventies in MIAD's basement, at Abe Cohen's Potter's Wheel. I moved to Eagle River a few years later. I have been working with clay ever since and also making paper for seventeen years. I have been fortunate to study with generous teachers in both media. My work has been exhibited locally and nationally, and I have enjoyed sharing my work through teaching and working on collaborative community art projects and environmental installations. My studio, housed at a circa 1940s fishing resort in Vilas County, is open to the public by appointment during the summer months.