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Artist Monica Waldman Enjoys Creating Art People can Use

Ceramic Artist will Sell her Wares at Holiday Studio Sale

Artist Monica Waldman Enjoys Creating Art People can Use

When artist Monica Waldman prepares to create her ceramics on the potter’s wheel, she likes to likes to have all of her shaping and scraping tools laid out before her, as a surgeon would in an operating room.

“That’s a good comparison,” she says. “Like a doctor’s tools, they tend to get all messy and dirty when I’m creating a ceramic piece. In fact, we have a couple of people here working with clay in the Adult Studios who happen to be physicians.”

Monica, who took her first ceramics class at the Art Center in 1993, will be selling her goods at the Studio Holiday Sale on December 1 from 10 a.m.-4 p.m. She creates a wide range of colorful cups, mugs, bowls, plates, and vases.

“I finally felt confident enough to start selling my functional ware at the Holiday Sale for the first time last year,” she says. “As an artist, I think you always feel some insecurity—you’re not sure if someone else might enjoy the things you are creating.”

She says that glazing her pieces is the most challenging aspect of creating her art. Sometimes the colors run in the glaze, the kiln is too hot, not hot enough, or the piece is right next to another creation that “spits” glaze on it during the firing process, she explains.

“With ceramics, you are essentially creating a canvas in three dimensions, and then coloring it,” she says. “It doesn’t always come out the way you envision it. But you try your best and hope for the best.”

During her time as an artist, Monica has also learned printmaking, collage, papermaking, and drawing. In addition, she serves as a ceramics teaching assistant at the Art Center.

As someone with a background in high tech, she says she was creating virtual products, but was not feeling the joy of creating something tangible.

“Working with clay is material management—you’re always fighting the material and time as the clay dries,” she says. “But it’s a learning experience, and you try different techniques and approaches to discover what works for you.”

Monica says she likes the experience of creating something new, beautiful, or interesting. “I especially like the fact that the people who buy my pieces will actually be able to use my artwork.”

The Art Center’s annual Studio Holiday Ceramics and Jewelry Sale takes place at the Art Center on December 1, 10 a.m.-4 p.m. Admission is free. An exclusive members-only preview will be held on Friday, November 30 for Activist level members and above from 6-7 p.m., and for all other Palo Alto Art Center Foundation members from 7-9 p.m. 

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Last Updated: November 9, 2018