Born on the island of Cyprus to a Cypriot father and a British mother, Maria Sparsis has also lived and worked in Wales, Scotland, New England and, for the last 15 years, Florida. a Marine Biologist by training and a scientist by inclination, Maria is a certified diver and has a deep commitment to, and love of, nature in all its forms.
Although Maria still maintains her ties with the world of science and biology, she is currently part owner of "Tea and Chi", a premium loose-leaf tea company. Her love of tea and her collection of teapots was what initially bought her to the world of ceramics.
Much of Maria's artwork is inspired by both her love and knowledge of nature and her sense of humor and fondness for the absurd. Much of her work is functional in nature and often, tea related. Maria has studied ceramics with Sean Clinton, Nancy Blair, Glenda Tailor and Charlie Riggs, Nan Jacobson, Walford Campbell, Fong Choo, Eric Olsen and Ying Zhou.
Maria's work has been exhibited at The Armory, The Sparta Teapot Museum, The Fish House Art House and the Vero Beach Museum of Art. Her work can be seen at Flametree Clay Art Gallery in Vero Beach and Fitch and Fellows Gallery in Oxfordshire. She currently teaches pottery classes at Indian River Clay, Inc.
GINNY PIECH STREET
Ginny grew up in Indiana, spent some time in Kentucky, the Low Country of South Carolina and Key West before sailing to Fort Pierce and calling the Treasure Coast her home. She had the pleasure of being a co-creator of Art Mundo, A Center Of Creative Expression in downtown Fort Pierce, where she later partnered with 4 other artists to open Peacock Clay Collaborative, a working clay studio, also in downtown Fort Pierce. When Peacock Clay closed due to an unrelated fire in the building, she had the opportunity to continue her clay work as co-founder and studio manager for Indian River Clay in Vero Beach.
Ginny says "I’m appreciative of the interest and support that the residents of the Treasure Coast have for the arts. With a BFA in printmaking, I am way out of my league with clay, but playing in the mud is too much fun. I’ve been working in clay for about 6 years and have found that it is easy to carry one’s imagery and style from medium to medium. The tactile nature of clay immediately engages my senses and involves me creatively. One can’t be passive when ones hands are deep in mud!"
She also enjoy collaboration as it nurtures a strong creative environment and builds lasting alliances in the art community. She's been hooked on the creative process for as long as she can remember, enjoying the surprise of where it takes her. Ginny's desire is to share this joy.
Glenda Taylor has been a studio potter for over 40 years, after receiving her BFA in Ceramics at University of Florida. She is a fourth generation Floridian, and lives full time in Vero Beach. As an avid scuba diver, her work is inspired by the beautiful sea life and tropical flora and fauna of her coastal environment.
For 30 years Glenda's studio could be found at Tiger Lily, an art gallery and studio space that she, along with other female artists, established in Vero Beach, Florida. Glenda has been featured on the cover of the country’s most prestigious ceramics magazine, Ceramics Monthly. She has also received recognition in Southern Living Magazine.
Glenda is represented by The Cheryl Newby Gallery and her one-of-a-kind decorative vessels and tile work are in many public and private collections throughout the world. Glenda has exhibited in over thirty group shows, and her work is included in many distinguished collections, including the White House. She has taught ceramics at the Vero Beach Museum of Art and has been an active supporter of the pottery community. She is well known and a greatly respected member of our local community.
Amy grew up spending time with her grandfather while he sculpted, painted and draw. Over the years Amy has been privileged to work and learn from wonderful generous clay artists. She has never lost her imagination.
Emily Fretwell is a Vero Beach native and has been an artist since a young age. Her style is whimsical, fun, and a little bit off the beaten path. Emily attributes her love of art to being homeschooled and allowed to let her imagination run free. Growing up, Emily learned that anything can be art and believes this is where her love of creativity comes from. Emily’s art has been on display at The Vero Beach Art Museum, Flametree Clay Art Gallery, and the The Indian River Mall. Her artwork can be found for sale at Hotsy Totsy Soap and DIGG Gardens in Vero Beach, FL, as well as her online Etsy store “FretwellCreations.”
Emily‘s teaching style is very “go with the flow.” She believes the goal of art isn’t to make something perfect, but to just make art! Big, small, precise, or free-flowing, every creation is art and uniquely amazing.
Nancy Blair, MFA is a master potter, sculptor and author of five books on meditation, myth and art. Her most recent book, The Goddess Book, was published in 2021 by Red Wheel/Weiser Publishing. In all her teaching she encourages students to enjoy the process with curiosity and wonder at the possibilities waiting to emerge.
She received her Bachelor of Fine Arts degree from Alfred University, the New York State College of Ceramics and a Master of Fine Arts in Visual Studies from Rutgers University, Mason Gross School of the Arts in New Jersey. Nancy’s art is inspired by nature, personal experience and ancient myth.
Her art is in the collection of Sir Elton John, The Tacoma Museum of Glass, Rutgers University Mabel Douglass Library as well as numerous collections both nationally and internationally. She taught hot casting at Pilchuck Glass School and was an artist in residence at the Tacoma Museum of Glass. Her glass sculpture is currently on exhibit at The Imagine Museum in St. Petersburg, FL. Nancy’s website: nancyblair.art
Travis Thomason has been making and selling pottery for close to thirty years. Best known for his horsehair and pit-fired pieces, Travis loves finishes that begin with burnishing instead of glaze.
In Colorado, Travis owned and operated a teaching studio for several years and taught raku and throwing BIG workshops throughout the state. He enjoys sharing his knowledge and helping newer potters develop their skills by adjusting their body mechanics and techniques.
Travis moved home, to Florida, with his wife Erica a year ago and is excited to get back to teaching and working in a studio environment.
Born and raised on Florida’s east coast, Zoey fell in love with creating at a young age. Finger paints turning into acrylics, and discovering a love for clay early in high school. She couldn’t get enough of turning mud into life! This passion was greatly explored at a local pottery and paint studio. She soon was running summer camps and teaching children and adults alike the basics of ceramics, or even simply just getting a paintbrush wet and grooving.
If she is not outdoors enjoying the vastly diverse and beautiful, Florida landscape, she is trying to create something aesthetically pleasing for others to deeply enjoy. But more importantly sharing the power of creativity in her community.
Art in the community unites, yet brings recognition to the individual. When you bring to life something deep inside and it resonates with many others... you realize what you feel is shared and your ideas appreciated. Everyone has a different style of interpretation and that should be explored in a safe welcoming environment.
ANNE GORDEN VEGA
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