After over 25 years of exploration and experimentation, ceramist Sharon Levy has produced a variety of works using ancient methods, materials and techniques. She uses these methods and materials in contemporary ways to interpret the world around her: physically, spiritually, religiously and politically. Her works reflect the physical environment by way of the landscapes found in her boxes that utilize natural edges in addition to bas relief carving. She sees her thrown bowls as offertory in nature with a spiritual connection to the inspiration of pioneering eastern ceramists. In addition, she enjoys exploring Judaica through the current and ancient symbols, language, and colors that have become obscured due to the Judaic world's emphasis on the written word. Finally, from time to time, she feels a need to express her point of view on global political situations, whether referencing starvation in foreign countries or worldwide bigotry and ignorance.
Mrs. Levy uses high and low firing techniques in the finish of her work. Some work uses the ancient Japanese method of Raku as generally practiced in America, as well as traditional high-fire kiln methods. Her decoration is primarily engobe-based. Engobes are fairly liquid clays with traditional and non-traditional colorants that are applied on leather-hard clay. The engobe allows for a great deal of textural variation as well as the ability to carve thru it and reveal subject areas.
Both the wheel and hand-building methods are utilized in her work. The wheel is used primarily to satisfy her Eastern aesthetic, concentrating on the Japanese tea-bowl as her primary form. In addition, her conical bowls, with their high and well-defined feet, echo the traditional rice-bowl form. Her hand-building is reserved for the exploration of the box derived from the ossuaries of old, with the box embodying a vessel that contains elements of the past found in the present as well as the present found in the past. The use of natural edges during the formation of the box draws upon environmental inspirations. The landscape is used as a metaphor for the way our lives are connected to the earth, wind, fire, and water and the appreciation of their collective participation in our spiritual and physical lives.
All of the artistís work celebrates the richness of work produced naturally and by hand, in direct contrast to our electrical, automated, virtual and production-line world. The straight and plumbed line is not remembered as much as the mark of a single maker upon a piece of clay frozen forever in time by the permanence of fire. In this fast-paced, fluid-transforming world, the artist attempts to explore the grounding thru the most elemental of media of humanity--the earth.