Ceramicist Lotus questions human impact on local ecology
“I invited Lotus because she is an amazing ceramics artist and is using ceramics in ways that, I think, are really unique,” Winston said. “The connection I have with clay here, the space, I wanted to fill it out. With this latest body of work that she’s putting together, she’s trying to get her audience to resolve a question about our impact on the natural resource as opposed to our need for a thriving economy.”
Lotus said, in an email interview, that her passion for gardening and healthy eating led her to create work that promotes an awareness of what one consumes and where that food comes from.
She met Winston in 1997 in the ceramics studio at University of Houston where they were both aspiring art majors, she said.
“Joe grew up in Beaumont with similar fishing stories and still had the same passion for the outdoors I had as a child and long since given up.
“With both of us living near the Gulf of Mexico our entire lives, we have heard yarns from a generational perspective from family and neighbors but also have experienced natural disasters such as Hurricane Alicia and Ike, and seen the human impact of business, industry and population growth on our local environment.
“This effect on our local coastal areas conversely impacts us directly through consumption of marine seafood and treated water from our taps, as well as contact through recreational hobbies and the proximity of our homes with our families residing inside.”
Lotus says her preliminary ideas draw upon personal experiences and jumbled memories translated through her current passions.
“For this show, I took these ideas and hand-built two mini-installations and two floor works,” she said. “I really enjoy repetition to show emphasis and create visual mass within a space. For my hand-building I employed the use of vermiculite, a gardening soil additive, to create an unusual texture on and in the clay itself.”
Lotus is from the Galveston Bay area and Winston said they share experiences of crabbing and fishing some of the same waters.
“Growing up in Dickinson, I fondly remember riding my bike down to the bayou to catch crabs off a little wood pier with a chicken neck dangling on the end of a string and an old dip net,” she said. “It was usually catch and release. Unless my Asian relatives were visiting; then they would cook up the most delicious crab concoctions.
“Hot summers were spent taking family trips to Galveston beach where, after playing in the sand and surf, we used baby oil to remove all the sticky black tar from our hands and feet.”
It is these memories which inform her work.
Winston said Lotus’ work takes his own exploration and love of the area further.
“There are some areas of the Bay where you can’t eat the crab, can’t eat the sea trout,” he said. “So (she’s) trying to see how we can keep the economy going with all these people depending on the economy, but not damaging the ecosystem to the point where we can’t eat the fish.
“I’m out there eating the fish in the Sabine, the Neches and Galveston, and she’s taken a step back to be a little more critical about it.”
TASI is loacted at 720 Franklin in downtown Beaumont.
For more information, call 409-838-5393 or visit www.artstudio.org.