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October Window by Holly Coley

Spooky Spirits born in the flames of atmospheric firings


The spirits pictured about were fired in a wood soda kiln at the Mendocino Center. Holly would later return to the MAC as an artist in residence. While at the Mac, she met artist Michelle Gregor and invited her to do a workshop at Pinckney Clay. Visit Hollycoley.com to learn more about her work




The spirits in the window at Pinckney Clay come from different kilns. During the pandemic Holly started traveling to different cities in Northern California to participate to firing with various art centers and private communities. After so much time along during lock down, coming together and working with people again was an emotional experience for Coley and she wanted more. The firing results are unique to each kiln and the results are always unpredictable.


" After my first firing at the Mendocino Art Center, as I started the drive home, I had to pull off the road as my eyes filled with tears. I had missed being around other people so much. Wood firing for the first time is unlike anything you will ever do.

It takes a community of people working together around the clock to stoke the kiln and keep the temp moving. The careful process of the wading the work, loading the kiln, and bricking up the door takes a lot of labor and time. Chopping and stacking the wood, and organizing it by type. A lot of work goes into just one firing. Unloading the kiln after many days of waiting is like Christmas."


Wood Fired King Spirit with illumination. Natural ash glaze and flashing slips.




About the artist:


Born in LA county and raised in the desert of Southern California. Holly Coley comes from a family of artists and crafts people. An artist and educator, she is the owner of Pinckney Clay Studio in San Francisco.

When I came to clay, my background was in drawing, painting, and graphic novels. It was a natural transition to bring the subjects of my drawings into the physical world through clay. I treat the surface of my pots as a canvas for my narrative illustrative style. The alchemy of working with ceramic materials inspired me to look for deeper connections with spirituality and how it manifests/exists as ceremonial objects, ancient art, animals and spiritual totems. My work is influenced by my 1980s childhood, mythology and storytelling.

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