Friday artist, Trisha "Paprika" Glossop
What is your career and your current job title? Ceramic artist. Moving here in 1999 from Arcadia, my home studio is now located in the black oaks forest in Grass Valley.
Describe in a sentence or two your art. My art is mostly wildlife and fantasy pieces made out of porcelain and stoneware. The pieces are fired twice, the first time to 1,700 degrees and the second time to 2,350 degrees. My husband, Dave, does the high-firing for me in a propane kiln.
How long have you been working in this discipline? For almost 30 years.
Why do you do it? I enjoy taking the clay and bringing it to life.
What do you hope to accomplish? I hope to get recognition for my art and myself and to make my works available for the people up here to enjoy.
Do you create your art with an exact message you want the viewer to receive and if yes, what is that message? I don’t think I use symbolism. I like to sometimes make a family. I have a family of griffins. I’m making a sculpture right now of a mother Himalayan tiger protecting her babies. The varmints are mischievous; they might look ferocious at first, but if you look at them closer, they’re smiling.
Where do you want to be with your art, in terms of part-time versus full-time status, art positions and where your works are seen? I want to become a known artist up here as I was down south.
What kind of special training did you take? I’m self-taught. I hung around other artists to get inspiration, to learn a few techniques. We used to have kiln-firing parties in Southern California that would last for three days; we’d get in a studio, make a bunch of glazes, experiment, have fun in the sun. A lot of my friends were artists, although we didn’t do the same type of thing. We’d talk about the clay and the kiln, and we’d go digging for clay. I learned what I needed and I was attracted to other artists for their energy. I also read a great deal about ceramics.
What’s your favorite part of your endeavors? Unloading the kiln, seeing how the stuff came out. Most artists say “it’s like Christmas,” but for me, it’s like Halloween.
What’s your least favorite part of your endeavors? Opening the kiln and finding sculptures that have cracked, or working on a piece for too long.
Do you consider it hard work, and could anyone do it? It’s hard work because I’m working in three dimensions. Sometimes I can’t do what a painter or bronze artist could do. Every step of the way, if you draw it wrong, you get cracks. Of all the arts, it’s the most risky to make sculptures. I make each one individually, I don’t make molds. The high fire is the most elite of ceramics, an ancient art. Most people don’t do it anymore because you don’t know what you’re going to get. It’s like a gambler’s art; you could work on a piece for a year, but it’s the kiln gods who make the final decision no matter how much time you put in.
Any other comments you’d like to include? I recently got accepted by Galaxy Glass at 1451 E. Main St. in Grass Valley; I have 26 sculptures in there now. I also have a few sculptures at Candles and More in Nevada City. For anything custom-ordered, call 274-9918.
“The Artists” appears each Friday. To suggest a person to be profiled, call The Union newsroom at 273-9561.
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This letter is in response to Elias Funez’s excellent article on the relationship between the Nevada County Airport, Cal Fire and the Loma Rica development.