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Kari Smith


Harmony of the Spheres

Earthenware and red clay with slips and underglazes
8.25 x 13.25 x 12.125 in.
Gift of the Nora Eccles Treadwell Foundation

Kari Smith was born in Phoenix, Arizona; the Sonoran Desert and the Southwest comprise her spiritual center and ground. Harmony of the Spheres is the last piece in Smith’s Emancipation series. In it she used soft, thin, red slabs, made from newly mixed clay, to create the forms, since she is extremely allergic to the mold present in older, more plastic clays. Smith sketched lines and color-block areas directly on each piece. The painting was done with colorful commercial underglazes over white slip; clear glaze was used on the inside, producing a shiny/matte contrast. The work was fired in electric kilns and finished with wet and dry sandpaper after the glaze firing. She used this finishing technique for all of her work, as it gave the pieces a sensual softness, a feeling of being light as air. Yet though they were quite thin, she wanted them to appear sturdy and grounded.

Smith has lived in all Four Corner states (Utah, Colorado, Arizona, and New Mexico), as well as Ohio, Indiana, Wisconsin, Oregon, and New Jersey. She received her BFA in ceramics from Utah State University in 1999, and her MFA in ceramics from Indiana University in 2002. In her twenty-five-year ceramics career, Smith exhibited her work widely, taught in a variety of positions, and received numerous commissions. For health reasons, she stopped working in ceramics, but she continues creative work in other mediums.

Billie Sessions, PhD.

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