The oldest known fragment of ceramic is a small thing, roughly triangular, a yellow brown dust color - unassuming. This fragment holds many marks: on one side along the rim there are decorative marks - dots in a line perhaps made by impressing a stick into the wet clay. The surface blackened by the unmistakable touch of flame. Fingerprints and pinching texture appear where the artist coaxed shape and function from the clay.
Fragments represent to me these hidden narratives that connect us to events and people. Fragments are cropped from a resolved place and form. Edges and contours hint at the original object’s function and the events that led to fragmentation. Fragments become a talisman binding the viewer to unknown people, intentions, and events.
My work celebrates the characteristics of the fragment - mobile, poetic, irregular, unstable, and precarious in their lack of resolution.
Gratia loves to make things, break things, and create pieces that celebrate the poetic nature of fragments and debris. She is currently an Assistant Professor of Art at Valley City State University, Valley City, ND where she teaches ceramics, three dimensional design, art history, and art education methods.
Her sculpture and functional work is exhibited in galleries in the U.S. and abroad . Most recently her work was awarded a Recognition Award at the 4th UNICUM Ceramics Triennial at the National Museum of Slovenia and Second Place at the Visions in Clay exhibit at the LH Horton Gallery.
In 2019 her work was included in the 8th South Dakota Governor's Biennial, a traveling exhibition that will be installed at multiple venues, including the South Dakota Museum of Art, Brookings and the Washington Pavilion of Arts and Sciences, Sioux Falls. Gratia’s work was also featured in Part and Parcel, a 2019 NCECA Conference Concurrent Exhibition at Studio 394, in the Northrup King Building, Minneapolis, MN.
Recent invitational and juried shows venues include the Archie Bray Foundation (MT), Bredin Lee Gallery (MO), San Joaquin College (CA), Pewabic Pottery (MI), Mulvane Art Museum (KS), New Bedford Museum of Art (MA), Bradley University (IL), GoggleWorks Art Center (PA), The Ceramics Center (IA), and the Bizenware Traditional Industry Hall Gallery, Bizen, Japan.
She has been awarded scholarships and assistantships at Haystack Mountain School of Craft (ME), Penland School of Craft (NC), and Arrowmont School of Art and Craft (TN). Residencies include The Hungarian Multicultural Center, Budapest, Hungary, I-Park (CT), Watershed Center for Ceramic Arts (ME), The Ceramics Center (IA), University of North Dakota (ND), and Northern State University (SD).
Gratia earned her Master of Fine Arts in Ceramics from Edinboro University of Pennsylvania and her Bachelor of Arts in the History of Art & Architecture and Anthropology from University of Pittsburgh. She has been a teaching artist in community art programs with ArtWise (ND), Eastern Iowa Arts Academy (IA), United Way (IA), and Pittsburgh Center for the Arts (PA).