Wendy Converse Creates Unique Sculptures
Growing up in an Air Force family, new Anderson Artists Guild member Wendy Converse lived in Washington, Oklahoma, New York, New Jersey, and North Carolina, as well as six years in Germany. Those travels, especially visits to European castles, have inspired much of her art.
She has a bachelor of fine arts degree in ceramics and printmaking from Converse College but spent the first 14 years after graduation working in a variety of roles for the Girl Scouts. “I grew up in the Girl Scouts,” she said. “It was the one consistent thing throughout my life, so working there was a natural transition.”
When she moved from Massachusetts to South Carolina in 2014, she sought a less demanding job that would allow more time for family and for art. She is presently a project manager for a hydraulics company.
Her first pottery pieces were traditional wheel-thrown work. “It was fine and I enjoyed it, but I got bored really quickly,” she said.
Today, she creates hand-built sculptures inspired by landscapes and man-made structures. For instance, pieces in a current series might start with a cliff or mountain onto which she positions a water tower or old oil derrick. “I tend to start with a theme,” she said. “I create one piece, then another inspired by that, then another. If you saw it in a line, you would see the progression.” The water tower in one piece might become a house on stilts in the same landscape in the next piece. Then that house might be located on an island in the next piece.
All the pieces are wood fired. “Most pieces do not have a glaze on them,” she said. “The surface is bare. Fire and ash create the finishes. The very natural orange and brown tones look rusty, like the structure has been there for hundreds of years.”
She does the initial firing from her home studio but completes the later firing with a group of potters in Pendleton four times a year, each of them working shifts over the course of a weekend.
Converse sells her work in shops and at art festivals. “The biggest thing is finding your market and who your customers are and where they’re shopping,” she said. “If you get in the right place, you can sell your work.”
For more information about Converse, visit https://conversecreations.com/.