About Annette Verna
Time and nature are the primary inspirations for my work. I am interested in geologic formations and how we are connected to the land. Not the big scenery, but the details: cracks, crevices and layers of rock; scars and imperfections; crumbling and decay. My most recent ceramic work is inspired by traveling through the Appalachian Mountains. The build-up and wearing away of the landscape has happened over millions of years and I think about time and the forces of nature that formed what we see today. We have a long relationship with clay. It is made of earth materials and our early development and survival is intimately linked to it.
My current work is a response to what I find most beautiful in our world. I create modern forms with simple surfaces and use a primitive pit firing technique. I consider my work a combination of fine art and fine craft. I have one foot planted in the world of art and one foot planted in the world of object-making. Pit firing gives me the opportunity to explore and communicate ideas in a way that functional pottery doesn’t. Clay and fire are my partners and we make objects together.
I make wheel-thrown and hand-built clay vessels, which I smoke fire using sawdust and native plants. I was a creative kid – drawing, painting and making things. My first experience with clay was in high school where I learned to hand build and use the potter’s wheel. Following high school, I attended art school in the Adirondack Mountains. This is where I first used the pit fire technique for firing my work.
I live in Charles Town, WV and I am originally from Rochester, NY. In addition to my studio practice, I sponsor awards in ceramics for the annual student art exhibition at Nazareth College of Rochester. I enjoy teaching adults and have taught drawing for the Fairfax County Adult and Community Education program and ceramics at a community clay studio in Alexandria,VA. I enjoy curating and jurying art exhibitions and writing about art. For 3 years I managed the art exhibition program for the Berkeley Arts Council in Martinsburg, WV, where I also served on the board of directors.