A passion for making
Virginia Scotchie’s art has been displayed in exhibits across the world – from Taipai, Taiwan, to Sidney, Australia – and has received some of the international art community’s most prestigious awards. But it is the process of making, not the finished product that fascinates her the most.
“For many of us, we go to a museum or a gallery and we see the finished work,” she says. “We don’t see how the work got to that point.”
While becoming an internationally acclaimed artist, Scotchie has also been the head of the University of South Carolina’s ceramics department. Since 1992, she has overseen its growth from one dough mixer and a few kilns to the robust, 21 kiln department that it is today.
There, it has always been her goal to help students understand the great things they can produce with clay and the satisfaction they can gain from the making process.
“As one famous artist said, art just doesn’t jump out of the head of Zeus,” she says. “You have to work. I think that the students leave knowing that this is what it is like to make something. This is the different stages that you have to go through to have a completed piece in ceramics.”
She says she often has students ask her about the value of their degree, and her response to them is simple. She says, “Do you like this? Is this your life? Then you’ll be fine! And it’s true. As long as you practice and study what you’re passionate about, you’ll have a happy life.”
Her work is typically characterized by its unique forms and detailed surfaces and can be seen at the Hidell Brooks Gallery in Charlotte during the month of March.
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Story written by Abe Danaher