Amanda Dobbratz graduated from The Glasgow School of Art in Glasgow, UK, with a Masters in Research in Creative Practice. Previously, she received a BFA in Studio Art from the University of Wisconsin–Stout. Amanda makes functional, complex ceramics, which marry the whimsical with the pragmatic, often conveying a sense of play and humor. The sources she references for surface treatments include: the desert landscape, body ornamentation, and historical textiles. She distills the shapes and colors from her sources into a personal taxonomy of symbols— drawing the lobes of a cactus into the form of a basket, or the dot patterns found in traditional tattooing into a glaze treatment. Amanda is a 2015 Anonymous Potter Studio Fellow and currently works as Northern Clay Center’s Digital & Marketing Manager.
I make functional, complex ceramics, which marry the whimsical with the pragmatic. My work is most successful when I am able to introduce a sense of play and humor. The sources for surface treatments that I reference include the desert landscape, body ornamentation, and historical textiles. I distill the shapes and colors from my sources into a personal taxonomy of symbols--perhaps drawing the lobes of a cactus into the form of a basket, or the dot patterns found in traditional tattooing into a glaze treatment. My impulse is always to add more-more context, more layers, more color, more texture, and more pattern. However, to blend wit and wildness with approachability and decorum, I strive to balance the tension between excess and restraint.
What ties my current ceramic work to my painting education at The Glasgow School of Art is a well-developed affection for complex surfaces and experimental modes of working. My background provides me with a trove of techniques I apply to my ceramic surfaces including gestural elements, heavy patterning with geometric shapes and symbols, unexpected contrasts in luster and luminosity, and painterly color combinations.
My current research interests include how complex and unusual forms intended for function affect a user’s semiotic understanding of an object, how handmade objects influence conviviality between users, and new models of creative enterprises that prioritize an artistic practice over mass-production.