Folk art inspired ceramics, sculptures and decorative home goods
Heidi Brit Anderson
Heidi is an artist from Seattle, Washington, who currently lives between Vashon Island, Washington and Los Angeles, California. She attended the San Francisco Art Institute where she received her Bachelor of Fine Arts degree in 2002. She has been a ceramicist since 2012.
Hello. My name is Heidi Brit Anderson and I sculpt figures that I call Protectors.
I work in ceramics making hand built pots sculptures and vases using a technique called Nerikomi using different color clays to inlay patterns designs and narratives with the clay itself. I also make figures called Protectors which are wheel thrown and then formed and sculpted with added embellishments individually cut from clay. I use the color of the clay as the main decorative element in my work; colors that lend themselves to the California landscapes and desert scapes that I deeply love. I use a variety of earth-toned clays; from deep browns and reds to light speckled off-whites. I also experiment with using mica infused clay to create an alternate dimension of light and reflection.
I use glaze sparingly in my work, as I rely mostly on the clay to inform and inspire me.
My work is constantly evolving and draws upon many influences; from fine art to folk art and the everyday handmade. I’ve come to see my figurative work in sculpture as modern day folk art. There is no single definition of what folk art is, but the definition that resonates with me most is as defined by the Museum of International Folk Art in Santa Fe, New Mexico: Folk art is “of, by, and for the people; all people, inclusive of class, status, culture, community, ethnicity, gender, and religion.” I deeply identify with this definition, and believe that it speaks to the totems/Protector people that I make. But beyond being artful pieces, I like to think of my Protector people as spirit beings; as altars and/or totems that serve as an emblem of the importance of nature and our relationship to it, and the sense of connection and appreciation that I derive from being in nature. I see them uniting the animal and the spiritual, as well as the earthly with the mystical.
My love of nature translates into a vocabulary of personally relevant, but universally recognizable symbols that embellish my totems: leaves, flowers, birds, rainbows, mountains, water symbols, triangles, dots and abstract lines. I often use the owl, a universal symbol of wisdom, as a symbol of protection. I use the sun as a sign of strength and personal power, and the moon as a symbol of the shadow self and our unconscious while the butterfly is used as a symbol of transformation. The braids I that have become a signature on many of my protectors create both a pleasing graphic pattern, as well as being reminiscent of the indigenous Peruvian women and nature loving bohemians of the California counterculture. I believe it is the job of the artist to draw from the ancient and universal well of symbols and spirituality to bring these expressions into our daily life.
It is my sincere hope that people will find themselves in one of my Protectors, and that they will choose one (or two or three...) that speak to their heart and hold deep, spiritual meaning for them. My Protectors have evolved organically; they are of me, and they are for the people who identify with them.