ABOUT MARIA NEAL
Maria Neal worked for many years exploring wild places as a bird biologist before forming a love affair with clay and creates functional and sculptural ceramic pieces inspired by nature and her own inner landscape.
Predominantly self-taught, Maria has studied clay at the Haystack Mountain School of Craft and at the University of Vermont.
I am fascinated by storytelling in all its forms and wish to use the ceramic surface as an enduring canvas to explore the running fantastical narrative in my imagination. The landscapes of the north country, both sweeping and intimate, and the infinite diversity of life in infinite combinations are a constant source of inspiration for me.
I am deeply drawn the arcane, mystical, and esoteric. The runes, the alphabet and symbology of ancient Northern Europe, plays heavily in my work and pops up in my hallmark. You will often find reference to folklore, mythology, & fantasy. I hope you enjoy these pieces as much as I have enjoyed researching and making them!
I seek to arouse some sort of emotion in the viewer and user of objects- even if it is the simple pleasure and peace of using a cup that fits perfectly in one’s hands. Though I seek simplicity and sophistication in my forms, I enjoy including a bit of awkwardness, as I feel that this is the most human.
My collection featuring the addition of 22k gold and white gold overglazes is a new frontier for me in the vast expanse that is glazing. For some time, I have wanted to work with precious metal which I feel add an elevated elegance to the ceramic form, a third firing, and a persnickety process, the application appeals to me on many levels. I can only hope that as you view and touch these works, that you are imbued with the subtle warmth of the precious metals and transported by the imagery I have created.