Though often non-functional in the traditional sense, my ceramic work ranges from hand-built bowls to abstract sculptural pieces and closed vessels that produce sound. As a fiber artist I worked with 3D assemblages and weavings, and was inspired by the monumental work of Magdalena Abakanowicz. My primary medium now is clay, but the connection to fiber remains, particularly with reference to its rich history and importance in women’s lives. My forms are often shaped by pressing soft clay into fiber wrappings, the larger ones coiled from strips of clay. Surface marks and cracks give the appearance of an object unearthed, perhaps as from an archaeological dig. Oxides and glazes wiped off highlight these surface textures and produce matte finishes akin to those found in nature. I am not a musician, but the resonance of clay and creation of sound, even from the most unlikely sculptural form, continue to fascinate me. The use of clay, dug from the earth and requiring physical energy to transform, brings with it a direct connection to the natural world that underlies all of my work.
Liz Newell received a BS in Biology and Math from Colorado State University in 1984, where she was first introduced to weaving. She studied at the School of the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, in 1987, with a focus on sculpture. For the past ten years she has worked in a ceramic studio in Concord, MA. Liz grew up in New England, then moved west and spent over twenty years in Oregon and Colorado before returning to Massachusetts. Time spent on rivers, mountains and by the ocean, surrounded by rocks, trees, canyons and waves has greatly influenced her work.