Garden Seat #3 | Elizabeth Nields 

Elizabeth Nields is an admirer of Japanese pottery of the Muramachi period. Her pieces are “wabi and sabi,” perhaps suggesting the rocks that might be found in a garden that leads to a teahouse. As the glaze on a tea bowl may suggest landscape, so does Garden Seat # 3. It feels at home in a birch grove. Fortuitously, the material retains the day’s heat and takes the chill off of a cool evening; when the morning mists lift, the seat is still deliciously cool to the touch. Its generous seat accommodates adults as well as children. The base glaze is a magnesium glaze. Various iron-bearing glazes have been used as well, and a little peach bloom. The patterns are abstract and contemporary, the form ageless. This piece is easily moved.

Elizabeth Nields has been making bold sculptures and pottery at her studio outside of Gilbertsville for 40 years. She started with a personal narrative related to the Ancient Elephant Temple perhaps found in ruins 5000 years ago. Later she built “monuments.” Elephant imagery recurs in the garden seats.

Her work was featured in Metropolitan Home and Vogue in articles about designer Mary McFadden, who collected her work. Patrick Lannan, founder of the Patrick Lannan Foundation Museum in Palm Springs FL, acquired many pieces for the museum’s collection.

Ms. Nields earned her B.A. at Radcliffe College (cum laude). She was an Assistant Professor at Hofstra University, where she taught “clay” including Japanese ceramics, glazes and sculpture. She has also taught at many institutions, including Hartwick College and SUNY Oneonta. She teaches in Arts in Education Programs and at The Smithy, Cooperstown. Ms. Nields has conducted Clay Workshops at her studio since 1974, including a month long intensive workshop every August.

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