Jeremy Ashburn: Hey guys, I'm Jeremy Ashburn with PushLeads and I've got Catherine Healy with me and we're at Mark 1st Fire Arts. How are you doing Catherine?
Catherine Healy: I'm doing great.
Jeremy Ashburn: We're actually in her studio here in a Western North Carolina in Asheville, just in West Asheville area.
Catherine Healy: Yes.
Jeremy Ashburn: I thought we would do a series of videos just introducing Catherine and explaining kind of why you do what you do and why you got into it. Just wanted to start out with this little video and let's talk about the type of art you do and explain that type of art for starters.
Catherine Healy: Okay. Alright. Well, I do ceramic art and sculptural nature and since I came to Western Carolina, I've really been inspired by the beautiful scenery and nature. It's been a wonderful experience that there's been this springing forth of all these designs just coming out of me and influenced by nature, so that's been exciting.
Jeremy Ashburn: Wow. What gave you the idea of getting into this kind of art, this kind of [crosstalk 00:01:11].
Catherine Healy: Oh yeah. Well, that's a long story that goes back probably 40 years.
Jeremy Ashburn: Wow.
Catherine Healy: When I first fell in love with the clay, when I was in college for the first time, I thought I would go for a business degree and just, you know, get education, but I took actually a pottery class and went straight into wheel work. I fell in love with it. Then, I did a whole art track from then on out, okay. It's always been in me since then and I've kept at it year after year as I could, so yeah.
Jeremy Ashburn: What do you think... no, what inspires you or what makes you passionate about the type of art that you're doing?
Catherine Healy: Okay. The type, gosh, that's a good question because I think a lot of potters, they have the same... it must just be this tactile, wanting to push the earth and shape it and form it. Then, beyond that, for me, just the whole building and construction type process. Constructing and exploring. Exploring is a big one. Just really with clay, you can push and it morphs to this and then you can morph it this way and it's just... I don't know, it's just, it's hard to describe. It's not like that if you're going to... because I also can paint and draw and all that, but it's probably the 3-D thing.
Jeremy Ashburn: Mm hmm. I guess the natural forms, as you're doing it the natural forms, you're inspired by the nature and the natural form, so it's that combination of working and also being inspired.
Catherine Healy: Right, right, yeah. I found actually my first... I came to Asheville three years ago and my first winter break I was studying at the Village Potters. The River Arts District, they have an intensive, they call it ISM, Independent Study Mentoring and our first Christmas break, and I was in my home studio. I just had the clay and I started doing things intuitively. I was pushing a pine branch into a slab, which I've done these torn edges on this work and I don't know if you can see that but I just have to pick it up and show you because the torn edge thing is really exciting. It's just... and actually, also the forms, when I cut this out it was just very asymmetrical, organic, overly used word, so things started popping up.
Catherine Healy: There was an... I have to get my visual aids, but just a lot of that type thing was happening and it was coming out of my thumbs. Like, I would push it and these things would appear and I realized it was things that I had looked at in the recent weeks, like on a walk or when I went to the Biltmore, you know, the mansion and the gardens. It's like there was that trunk on this tree. Oh, my God, well this isn't finished, but this piece right here is that process, but I put these little textured pieces on and they represent, on a trunk, they have... I think they're called [lindasills 00:04:46], but a tree actually breathes through these little horizontal-
Jeremy Ashburn: Ridges?
Catherine Healy: ... structures, ridges that are on it. That was one that happened to me, too. I came back and I was somehow recording that in something I was making. I have six to seven firings since of a process of getting to the finished piece.
Jeremy Ashburn: Wow.
Catherine Healy: Yeah, but it's... I don't know, it's just, I love throwing, but where I'm finding my joy right now is throwing a form and then altering it and adding something to it. I think that's why I started kind of calling what I do sculptural ceramics.
Jeremy Ashburn: Well, tell everybody how to find you on the web. I know it's Mark 1st Fire Arts.
Catherine Healy: Yes, or it's www.Mark1st, and that's one, S-T, FireArts.com.
Jeremy Ashburn: Then if they want to call you?
Catherine Healy: Yeah, my number is (407) 409-1277 and I have a studio here in West Asheville.
Jeremy Ashburn: Yeah, let's talk about the studio because we're here, obviously.
Catherine Healy: Yeah, and this is a real new thing for me. I moved to this area here intentionally to be able to build a 40 cubic foot gas kiln, to be able to get the... You have to have a gas kiln to really get marvelous surfaces, so I had to go to that next level. It's taken a lot of financial investment to do that, but here I am and we're actually embarking on next Wednesday doing the very first firing.
Jeremy Ashburn: That's great.
Catherine Healy: Yeah, it is. It's fabulous. Yeah.
Jeremy Ashburn: If anyone wants to come and see the studio and see your pieces and I know, you're in a couple of different galleries in town or they could also just call you to set up an appointment.
Catherine Healy: Yes.
Jeremy Ashburn: Do you do commission work or how do you typically work?
Catherine Healy: Oh, yes. Yes, I do that. Actually, I'm used to doing commission work because I, for 20 years, I've had my own business as a residential interior designer, so I'm so used to giving people what they want and as it fits into their life and their decor and that type of thing.
Jeremy Ashburn: Wow.
Catherine Healy: Yeah.
Jeremy Ashburn: That's so great. Well, thanks for your time.
Catherine Healy: Okay. Thanks, Jeremy.