Unearthing the Power of Clay


Photo credit: Addison Risbry

Addison Risbry ditched her mathematics degree after unearthing her love for clay. As she’s always been artistically inclined, Risbry diverged from her strict course load to entertain her curiosity in ceramic art. Though the decision was seemingly insignificant, it has become seminal.

“The process of working with clay is meditative for me,” Risbry said. “I realized it was more of my passion. So I switched to an arts education major and have been happier ever since.”

It’s now three years later, she has recently finished a skillful wind chime project inspired by Henry Matisse’s cut-outs.

“The wind chimes are interesting because of the relationships between movement, balance and ceramics. I used Matisse’s style in my own work because I want to portray a sense of soothing,” Risbry said.

A go-with-the-flow feel is not only deeply rooted in her art, but in her attitude as well. Instead of worrying about what the future will bring, she focuses her energy on activities that bring her the most joy. But as yoga, lacrosse and field hockey are significant facets of her life, they are the hardest to balance.

“It’s difficult for me to balance lacrosse and art since they both require my full attention. So one week I’ll choose to focus on one more than the other,” Risbry said.

Just like her art suggests, life is the relationship between balance and fluidity.

Whether or not she is caught in between two separate roles, her heart is devoted to the cause of creation.

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Risbry with her wind chime project. Photo credit: Addison Risbry

“An artist’s role in society is typically to instigate some sort of conversation. But mine is more individualistic. I am creating just to create,” Risbry said.

However, this mentality did not come immediately to her. Upon entering the artistic community, Risbry often compared herself to her counterparts, which prevented her from truly focusing on her purpose.

“My biggest accomplishment has been stopping myself from comparison. It was not until then that I was able to really create something that represents me,” said Risbry.

This can be seen as she is inspired by the game of pool. Although she also incorporates the fluid structures found in Matisse’s cut-outs, Risbry’s motivation is visible.

“I was starting to play pool a lot so that’s where I got the triangle shape and the balls, but I wanted to change the way we see the motion in pool,” Risbry said.

Her innovation is inspired by the guidance of her professors and how her community will perceive her work. Because of the art education program at Chico State, Risbry is determined to use her talent and desire to teach to empower students of any age that they too can create art and to send the message that no matter the form, art is meant to express the inner most self.

Risbry’s work will be up for an Art Education exhibit in the Bell Memorial Union gallery starting April 4.

Find more of her art on Instagram.

Anisha Brady can be reached at [email protected] or @theorion_arts on Twitter.