Clay Work by Christine McKay
I was raised north of Seattle but my origin was Honolulu when it was still a territory. My father used to relate old Hawai'ian tales by the fire. I was very young but remember those times vividly. The rainy NW nights, his deep voice conjuring fantastical images, and our incredible Northwest Native lore sent my very young imagination in wild directions. l was a loner even then and spent much time in the damp woods, sitting in wet moss or climbing impossibly tall fir trees, smelling deliciously of pitch when I descended. Ravens were an integral part of the surroundings, always mystical, drifting through the shadows and, it seemed, always laughing...
But I didn't know how the Hawai'ian tales or Pacific NW imagery (or many ancient cultures) would run deep within, far into my years. At this point I've now lived most of my life in the inland Rocky Mountain Region, mostly in Montana. There is a primordial connection between these diverse places and their ancient imagery, the very earth and waters - the creatures. There's not a day that I'm not dazzled by my surroundings and haunted by the history and prehistory.
I mostly drew or painted but knew I was hitting a wall with my artwork. I enrolled in the University of Montana Missoula as a non-traditional student, receiving my BFA, graduating exactly 30 years after high school. I augmented my Art studies with courses in Anthropology, Archaeology, and Geology. By then I'd found a very deep connection to clay work at UM, the other disciplines melding with my artistic direction. It took a few years to find my "voice" but now I'm very happily working out of my
own private mountain studio, in beautiful solitude, surrounded by my Horse Muses, cats, dogs, myriad wildlife, and a wonderfully supportive husband. Oh, and Old Grandfather Raven is still laughing...
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Christine McKay 2015