Ceramics by Debra Steidel
Born in 1956 in Alexandria, Virginia, Debra Steidel was introduced to porcelain clay at a very young age, growing accustomed to the feel of wet clay on her fingertips. The freedom that clay possesses in its infinite potential is an idea that would resonate within Debra her whole life. Moreover, daughter to a rugged huntsman of the Northeast United States, Debra often found bliss in the natural environment around the foothills of the Appalachian Mountains.
In 1974, at the age of 18, Steidel purchased her first potter’s wheel that she still uses to this day to create her vessels. During the early stages of her artistic career, Debra focused solely on the form of the vessel. In the early 1990’s, Steidel shifted her focus to ceramic sculpture. Sculpting presented Debra with such a different view of ceramics, replacing the meticulously concentrated process of the wheel with a free flowing, creative approach that channeled her unconscious.
Debra Steidel is closely associated with the mesmerizing crystalline glaze. In 2003, Debra moved to the lush Texas Hill country, just Southwest of the Texas capital of Austin. It was in her new surroundings that her pursuit to create the most remarkable glazes turned into an obsession. For Debra, the vividness of the glaze was equally important to the organic formation of each unique crystal as to maintain a harmonious composition of the overall piece. Thus, the recipes of her glazes have taken years, in some cases decades, to perfect.