Photography by Lori Sparkman Photography

Kelly Edwards admits she has always embraced her artistic flair. What began with paint classes as child has evolved into pottery creations that continue to mesmerize patrons of Red Door Gallery. She shares her devotion to Raku with students at the Arkansas Arts Center, where she helped develop the ceramics department, and discovers new twists and turns at the clay studio in her home.

Inspiration? Oh my goodness! Everywhere, everything and anything gives me inspiration. Today, it’s my students at Arkansas Arts Center. We talk about what we want to do at the beginning of the semester; we all bring our ideas together and I create clay projects. They are usually functional pots such as cups, bowls, plates and pitchers. I learn from them just as much as they learn from me.

Favorite Art Forms? I’ve done just about every kind of ceramic process – from low to high fire. Raku is my favorite process of firing. It’s fired at a low temperature resulting in a porous body that is not food safe. When I remove it from the kiln, it’s still glowing hot and must be submerged it into a metal can of combustibles. After it cools, I get to see the results!

Evolution as an Artist? I’m celebrating 20 years as a teacher at the Arkansas Arts Center and it is my dream job. I am grateful to do what I love. There are so many people throughout the years that have supported me. I am honored to put my work out into the world for everyone to see and enjoy.

Advice to Aspiring Artists? Some people say, “I’m not an artist, I’m not good at art.” I say, “If you don’t know what you are good at keep trying different things until you find it. Don’t give up, stay positive and work hard.” I’d be crazy without clay.

What’s next… As long as I live, there will be clay under my fingernails.

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