I'm Jessica Gutierrez, ceramicist and owner of Jessica Gutierrez Studios in Galveston, Texas.
The impermanence, fragility, and vast possibility of this practice has breathed a sense of fearlessness into my work since 2016. I lived in Vermont, a state where the adage is that there is a potter for every person. Innately drawn to the comforts of functional work, I naively enrolled in a beginner class at the local art center and took it incredibly seriously. I wanted complete pieces. I wanted detail and finesse that far exceeded my experience level. Comically, I wanted to create an entire dinnerware set for my home. But instead of simply learning how to make plates and bowls, I found a path toward patience, acceptance and ease. I learned that in clay, what becomes of it cannot be separated from what never becomes of it. Ultimately, the lengthy process of diving into ideas, experimenting, and completely losing oneself in the creative process has become a primary source of inspiration. It has enabled me to create without fear of failure and allowed me to believe in the undiscovered abilities within myself.
In 2020, I had been learning ceramics for 4 years and mentored by Abbie Preston Edmonson of Box Sparrow Studio in an apprenticeship-style role for about 2 years, an opportunity that I had viewed as nothing less than golden. After months of deliberation and developing an idea of what my life could be like, I planned my transition away from an 8-year career as a Registered Nurse and committed to the idea of becoming a full-time ceramic artist. Supported by my husband, friends, and mentor, I developed goals on paper, became more involved in the local art and ceramics community, and signed up for my first exhibition. I had submitted my letter of resignation and was one nursing shift away from pursuing a path that I had been slowly forging for years.
In a grand summation of this period of uncertainty and optimism for the future, I was hospitalized with a stroke on the day before my last official shift as a nurse at the age of 30. For one very long day, I wondered if I would be able to use my left hand and if I would be able to see. Among the flooding in of other thoughts and emotions, I had to consider what this meant for my transition and how this would impact my future as a ceramic artist. It is difficult to imagine what that life would have looked like, but after a complete recovery, I have been able to continue that pursuing clay. The near-loss of everything I hoped would come of my career change only solidified what I knew to be true. I am meant to be a creator and the creative process is not something I can be without.
I create functional ceramics in my home studio in Galveston, Texas. My goal is to blend the worlds of functional ceramics and fine art, which leads to an ever-evolving, imaginative collection of work that is meant to be loved and used, but can stand alone in beauty. You will find clean lines and modern silhouettes in the midst of a dialogue between form and surface. By not identifying as a production potter, I am able to follow each curiosity, stand in the outer limits of my abilities, and allow my voice as an artist to continue evolving. Each time I enter my studio, I engage in a bold experiment in both creation and in myself that I feel lucky to be able to forge my way in.
Clay love and mine,