Shinnick, Catherine

“Stone Otter” Direct hand carving in limestone, 14 x 24 x 16 inches, Signed

“Stone Otter” Direct hand carving in limestone, 14 x 24 x 16 inches, Signed
Picture 1 of 12

American Contemporary

Catherine Shinnick lives on Bois Blanc Island in Michigan. She is an award-winning sculptor whose works in clay and stone have shown and are collected nationally. She teaches Ceramics at the Parsons Center in Lake Ann for Eastern Michigan University.

Complete Gallery of Catherine Shinnick’s Artwork

“My work is about the human mind making a connection to wildlife. In my work the horse is a metaphor for the subconscious mind and its passion and intuition. In the depths of our subconscious, where myth and reality coincide, we are all connected.Living as I do on a small island where nature rules creates a need to align myself with the elements. In my sculpture I am portraying an alignment to the elements and to elemental forces. Clay itself is an elemental force. It is earth and water that brings our relationship to nature directly to our fingertips. It harbors the winds of inspiration, and it is reborn through the fires of the kiln. Ceramics create a strong sense of connection to nature for me.

I would like my sculpture to have life, to excite the space around it, and to give joy. The joy for me, and what I communicate, is the connection between the subconscious mind and the world of nature. Most of us long for connection, and we find ourselves on a quest to reestablish our closeness to nature.

I began to explore the horse as a subject in 1996 while working towards my MFA in Ceramics from Eastern Michigan University. The horse embodies verve and fire, his movements are light as air, he is a powerful ally of the earth and earthbound, and he permeates the waters of our subconscious mind. Long a bridge between the mundane and the divine, the horse has energized and liberated the cultures of mankind since ancient history. The horse has become the symbol of my passionate devotion to the creative process.

For 30 years I have carved stone, and the experience influences greatly my work with clay. When I carve stone, the dust produced obscures the piece and instinct and the ability to visualize becomes my guides. When I look at stone, I see form rising to the surface from within. The trick is to recognize, actually intuit, when the chisel has made contact with the surface of that form. I am visualizing the positive.

In clay I also work from the inside out because the internal structure is clay. This armature is in the form of slabs and the outer edge of these slabs describes the surface of the piece. Once the armature is in place, it is wrapped with thinner slabs that act as skin. The power to visualize instructs me to actualize.

The fun of clay in portraying the horse is using layers and negative space to invite the viewer to look closer and within. I am interested in texture and in allowing the clay and glaze to express their own language. I like to make the image float, an echo of my memories of the thrilling sensation of riding.”


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