Pam Baker Arena
I use clay as a way to tell personal stories through the narrative; as a way to evoke emotion and stimulate deeper thinking.
For the past six years I have been an instructor of Narrative Clay at Art Center West. However, I began my exploration in clay with Debra Fritts at Roswell Visual Art Center in 1998. When Art Center West opened, I was with the original group of enthusiastic students who worked to get ACW up and going. I took weekly hand building and sculpture classes for years, and gradually added workshops with visiting artists. I’ve taken workshops at Atlanta art centers as well as overnight arts and crafts camps such as Penland and Appalachian Center for Arts and Crafts.
As an artist, journaling has always been important. I began as a painter and mixed media and assemblage artist. It was through Debra that I was introduced to hand building and sculpture classes. Soon, I began telling my stories through hand building, primarily with low fire red clay.
The majority of my work is related to growing up in my childhood home in West Virginia; nature, back porch stories, and art that gives back. Growing young on 100 acres I played in the dirt, growing old I play with the dirt. I am a lifelong learner and enjoy the energy I get back from creating with other artists. Although I like a visually stimulating piece, I’ve worked in clay long enough to understand that the clay has the last word, the final story. Through the medium of clay I’ve learned to let go of things. The process is more important than the end result.
My Daily Inspiration: Back home dirt roads. Wooden church pews. Mail Pouch barns. Fresh cut sweet grass. Appalachian America. Mason jars and moonshine. Wildflowers alongside the road. The beauty of humanity. Simple goodness. Honesty. The cradle to the grave narrative.
I am a consummate creator. For the rest of my days, it is my hope to enjoy my life through various endeavors in the arts. To share my work, ideas and my life’s journeys, fostering a creative learning environment that marries my stories and my love for creating. Everyday I am thankful to be able to sew the seeds of my life through the beauty of the arts.