Small Revolutions

Small Revolutions


Anne Hirondelle Remember, 2008
stoneware, paint, 5 × 5 × 4 ½"
Photo/Frank Ross

Frank Ross

Francine Seders Gallery
Anne Hirondelle
Seattle, Washington
September 5-October 12, 2008

For more than 20 years of a career spanning three decades, the noted Northwest ceramist Anne Hirondelle (who was a student of Robert Sperry's at the University of Washington) worked within the vessel tradition, earning a reputation for shapely stoneware functional forms characterized by clean architectural lines and subtle glazes. In 2003 she took a sculptural turn as she began to think about her works as expanding into space rather than containing it. After five years of exploring these sculptural implications, Hirondelle once again addresses the vessel in these recent pieces, such as Remember, 2008, but with a conceptual approach that has allowed for the introduction of other materials.

"Staying true to my vessel-making roots, my current body of work has evolved from a simple bowl form," Hirondelle explains. "By deconstructing and reconfiguring, by distorting and manipulating, by combining two forms to make one, by grouping multiple pieces to create one, and by incorporating new materials-fabric, cardboard, wire mesh and sea salt-I have tapped a new well of sculptural possibilities."

The resulting painted stoneware pieces, some freestanding and others wall-mounted, are generally small in scale and restrained in color. "The work has been the leader, and I have followed," Hirondelle says, "paying careful attention to its needs and coaxing it, by small revolutions, into being." To express the idea of patient, sometimes halting, artistic change, Hirondelle has taken the title of her exhibition from a poem, "Still Life with Fire," by David Fenza, which she feels speaks to her creations, and which ends "after the Potter's wheel is still, we still turn / with small revolutions of faith & doubt / as
we style who & what to leave out / & who & what to hold within."