Heather McCalla

Perhaps more than anything else, San Diego ceramicist Heather McCalla’s work celebrates synthesis and creative combinations—unexpected connections and the fresh new perspectives that arise as a result.

Though she originally intended to become an architect, Heather discovered woodworking through taking courses in her college’s crafts department. Inspired by the more direct and tangible creative process woodworking offered, she refocused her energy and skills, training in traditional joinery and furniture construction before expanding to more experimental sculptural work. It wasn’t until graduate school at the University of Wisconsin that another shift took place and Heather became drawn to ceramics, and slipcasting in particular.

As far ranging as her path seems, Heather wove a unifying thread through her artistic journey, so that each stage of her training has helped to inform the next. Heather found common ground between woodworking and slipcasting, given the shared capacity for precision and reproducibility. Yet slipcasting also represented new opportunities for creation: through slipcasting, she could reinvent and recast forms inspired by vintage glassware, making something at once familiar and new, ubiquitous and unique. In combining these old-fashioned shapes and representing them in porcelain, Heather practices a form of creative renewal—of forging connections between past and present, traditional and modern, and invention and preservation.

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