Wendy Durand

For many years, I dreamed about working in clay…People often wonder about the early Influences in an artist’s life and what created the spark and the dream.  For me, I grew up in a household devoid of art – no painting, sculpture, glass, or pottery – not even music.  Television was the highest form of “art” in my home.

It wasn’t until college that I saw a potter throwing on a wheel. I was mesmerized…but it never occurred to me to major in art  – a decision that would not have been accepted by my family…however, I did hold onto my dream.

I spent 30 years as an executive director in women-focused nonprofits.  When I moved to Florida, I became the finance/administrative director for a new arts venue.   It was the first time that I had full exposure to art in all its forms.  And I loved it.

Once I began to take pottery classes, I knew that this would become my life’s work.  There is something calming and centering about clay that allows me to fully express who I am.  My work has evolved over time from wheel-thrown vases and jars to sculptural and functional hand-built work.  It wasn’t until I discovered hand-building that I found what allowed me the most creativity and finally gave a voice to my work. 

The major influences on my work are both external (water) and internal (personality) as well as over 30 years devoted to working with women in non-profit women-focused organizations.  I grew up on Long Island, surrounded by water and now live overlooking Tampa Bay.  My art often includes work based on sea anemones and various kinds of water vessels.   Other characteristics of my work are sharp edges reflecting my often very direct personality, balanced by the revelation of my softer inner core and a love for texture and elegance in my art and life.  I am currently working to expand the reflection of the latter in my work. A new series of vases pays tribute to the women who have passed through my life as friends and as clients in my prior career.   And a series of large bowls which reflect on love, longing and relationships.

My primary technique is slab construction which is then fired using many different techniques.  The creation of ceramic art, whether a "pot" or a sculpture, involves both technical skill and creativity. But behind it all, for me, there is nothing quite like the joy of immersing myself in clay and attempting to make something beautiful from it. I want people to want to touch my work and for my work to touch them.