Carol Mack

A bit about me 

Many years ago (around 40 or so…) I started college with the intent of being a political science major, but after taking a semester of ceramics I was smitten. After a nervous phone call back to my parents on a sunny Sunday afternoon and using a pay phone (remember those) I told them that I wanted to become a studio art major. I distinctly remember that instead of questioning my logic they enthusiastically said well of course…do it! And that wonderful support and their love helped me direct my energies towards art. 

Through college I enjoyed the ability to experiment with many different ceramic techniques, but I also spent a considerable amount of time in the printmaking studio. Using the studio’s photo-light machine, I was able to paint on velum with very gestural strokes, apply the film to a silk screen and print multiple copies of my designs. I would then enhance the images with blind embossing’s, which were made from zinc plates, to create reliefs. The combination of the two techniques was very unique and I enjoyed the process immensely. 

Fast forward about 30 years after raising two wonderful sons, and I was ready to refocus my energy towards my own creative works. Since I always loved “playing in mud” I decided to try and combine some of the printmaking techniques that I used to love onto clay to create unusual and sophisticated surface designs. 

In my current work, I enjoy using white stoneware clay. Graphic shapes are individually cut out of paper, which are adhered with water to the leather-hard clay. A water abrasion technique is done by sponging off areas around the paper designs to create a relief. Colored slips and/or multiple layers of underglazes are brushed over the entire surface, then the paper is removed to reveal the design. To achieve visual depth, I use abrasive sponges and/or steel wool rubbed over the surface to achieve the desired effect and sometimes carve designs into the clay as well. After the first bisque firing, I sand and brush on additional layers of underglazes which then work as a stain to help highlight the design and texture of the clay surface. The final step is to glaze and high fire each piece to make them food safe. 

I’m a relatively new member of the Boca Grande art community and my husband and I are currently building a home on the north end of the island. During the summer months I live in Rocky River, a western suburb of Cleveland, OH, where I share a ceramics studio with two other talented potters. 

People often ask me…can I put my hand-made pottery piece in the microwave or dishwasher? The general rule of thumb is that hand-made = hand-wash. My pieces are food safe and water-tight but extreme temperatures don’t go well with handmade items. 

You can find me on Instagram @ fricketpottery
Cell: 216-410-2338