Ceramic Works by Lulu Fichter

Find porcelain relics at Lulu Fichter's Studio in West Peterborough

Object in back: porcelain with no glaze Left: object with glazing from wood ash Right: coloring from river minerals and microbes. Photo by Susan Laughlin

The latest ceramic works by Peterborough artist Lulu Fichter reveal a destination via a road she’s been traveling for some time. Her earlier porcelain work was glazed white, with hand-punched circles providing most of the design. Then, for a while, she tired of white, and glazed everything all black, from vases to bowls.

Now, her work is more highly developed. In a move away from the wheel, she hand-builds the objects that look like they evolved through some creative twist of natural selection on another planet. The organic look is detailed by modeling the clay when it is leather-hard, a labor-intensive process.

Her ceramic pieces, for the most part, lost their function as bowls or vases and now look more like found artifacts. Maybe what sea urchins or bizarre life forms from the depths would look like when petrified. A few are bone white — just the natural finish of porcelain clay with only one firing and no glaze. Others started out white and picked up natural hues of subtle greens and grays after a lengthy stay in a local river. Fichter leaves the pots in the water and lets serendipity do the work. Different locations with varying water flow will deposit different coloring through mineralization. Leaving the pots in the river has its dangers. It can be a little tricky to retrieve them and, when winter hits, the window to the wild is closed.

Most recently, Fichter has rented space in the wood-fired kiln owned by the New Hampshire Institute of Art at the Sharon Arts Center facility in Peterborough. Amazingly, the effect of the wood ash on the bare porcelain is reminiscent of the coloring of the river runs, although the greens and browns created from the ash are a little more pronounced.

There’s more good news. Fichter was offered a 9-month or so residency at Taliesin West, the Arizona home of Frank Lloyd Wright, which is now a museum and teaching center. In a twist of fate, her late aunt, a sculptor, was an artist-in-residence there for many years. May the circle be unbroken in the shifting sands of time.

Prices for the pieces here range from $85 to $300.

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