Altitude Gallery proudly represents Colleen Deiss from Fond du Lac, Wisconsin.
Read on to learn about the artist's inspiration and artistic journey.
I was raised by my father and grandparents in Hartland, Wisconsin. With an avid outdoorsman for a father I developed a love of Wisconsin's great outdoors, which is apparent in most of my work. I also had a love of art which I later decided to pursue in school with the support of my family. I graduated from UW Oshkosh in December of 2012 where I received my Bachelors Degree in Fine Arts. Once out of school I started selling my watercolor and oil paintings at local art shows. I also worked part time at a ceramic studio, owned by my best friend's dad. I spent all of my extra time in the upstairs of his barn/shop rolling slabs and creating a technique of my very own. He gave me a ton of business guidance and really helped me get my feet on the ground. Rather quickly, I made the transition from painting into ceramics and did very well in the art show circuit. Now I sell primarily to sweet little retail gift shops throughout the nation and wonderful art lovin' people like you!
I live and create out of my in-home studio, in rural Wisconsin, with my husband, our two beautiful babies and our smelly little dog, Millie. I have completely taken over the garage and basement. In the next couple of years, we are looking to build a larger studio on our family farm. I couldn't be more excited to see where this journey leads us.
The mugs you see here are all slab built and the process is really kind of interesting for those who only know about thrown pottery. I start with a flat slab of clay and form it by hand into various functional pieces. This gives me the ability to add some really great textures and designs. From beginning to end, each mug takes about 10 days to make, going through 14ish different processes. First the slabs get rolled and slightly dried. Then they get stamped, cut out, and formed into the mug shape. After drying for a few hours they get a hand formed handle attached to them. Each mug will then need to dry for two days. Once fully dry, they get their bottoms sanded flat and sponged smooth. Now they are ready to be bisque fired for 9 hours followed by 20 hours of cooling. Once cool, they are unloaded, waxed, painted with oxide and sponged clean. They get dipped in glaze and loaded into the kiln to be high fired for 9 hours followed by 30 hours of cooling. Once cool, each mug gets checked over for quality and gets packaged and sent to their new home. PHEW that was a mouth full! Needless to say these mugs are loved by their maker!
All of my work is cone 10, high fire stoneware. Each mug is food, dishwasher, and microwave safe. The functionality of pottery is what really made me fall in love with it. A mug doesn't have to be just a mug to enjoy coffee or tea out of! It's a piece of art!