Artist Statement - Delores Fortuna
“Forming function, a dance, often a tug of war, between thought and object making. Add to this dialogue the sheer joy of working with clays as materially responsive as porcelain and surfaces only possible through glass fusion. A dynamic is created which becomes a life-long fascination. My work uses basic wheel thrown shapes as starting points; the clay wall defines both the silhouette of the form and records the time-event process of throwing. The clay wall becomes a fabric, a diary rich with gestural marks and intent. As a seamstress would cut, fold, and dart cloth to make a garment, I use this clay fabric to shape utilitarian vessels. These vessels ask questions, explore solutions, and live in your home.
“Early influences in my work were the simple yet intense forms of Hans Coper, Lucy Rie and Ruth Duckworth and the color theories of Josef Albers. I had the honor of studying with Ruth Duckworth at the University of Chicago for my undergraduate and graduate degrees and Richard Lafean was pivotal in developing my wheel throwing touch. I have always responded to work which is form simple but structurally complex deriving much visual information from a diverse array of contemporary clay artists as well as historical ceramics. My current work is shaped as much by simple thoughts as by elaborate clay working ideas.
“The clays and glazes I use are often of my own formulation, fired to stoneware temperatures (2374 F) in a gas reducing fiber kiln vitrifying the porcelain clay and glazes; the glazes are food safe, microwave and dishwashing stable. I want my work to bridge an art aesthetic with the craft making of objects; a teapot which rests on a shelf as a visual object can serve a great pot of tea.”
Delores Fortuna grew up in northern Wisconsin on a dairy farm, overcame the paralysis of polio, attended the University of Chicago, BFA, MFA studying with Ruth Duckworth; taught at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago retiring 2015. Her work has been exhibited both internationally and nationally winning numerous awards and in many private and public collections.