Carol Gouthro- Seattle, WA

Carol Gouthro
Carol Gouthro
Carol Gouthro
Carol Gouthro

Carol's Writing About her Work:

I have a strong interest in natural forms, and minutiae. I am drawn to color, ornament, embellishment, pattern, and texture. When I start working on a new sculptural piece, I am often responding to something that I have seen that captivates me. It might be something very small, something in my garden, a seed, or flower petal, or it might be something I have seen in my tool drawer like the elegant line of a plastic French curve, or I might be stimulated by one of the many clay bits and pieces of detritus that build up on my studio shelves.  As I start working I do not have an intent or interest in reproducing or replicating anything that I see but only in abstracting and translating these stimuli and feelings into a tangible object.

I often begin working on a new piece by making very rudimentary sketches. These are usually simple line drawings with lots of notes about surface and form. I think about form and surface at the same time.  Texture is often a component in my work and I need to plan on how I am going to incorporate this before I begin building. I use a lot of texture slabs to wrap skins of texture onto volumetric forms and this has to be planned out ahead of time. Next I make small studies or bits and pieces of details I might want to incorporate into my piece to see if I think they will work.

Once I have thought through some of the details I begin with the basic form. I work primarily with slabs and I often use either a plaster press mold or wooden drop mold to begin building my form and from that point on I work intuitively letting one thing lead to the next, adding details and/or eliminating them as I go. I sometimes end up making something very different than I had planned. I leave it open so it can evolve as I go.

Color and pattern for me are like food. I must have them to survive, and therefore they are very important in my work.  They are also the most difficult part of my work. I am very deliberate in my approach to using them. Color is emotional for me and is another vehicle for expression.  I often have to fire my pieces several times to get the color results I am happy with.   Color can pulsate on a curved textured form, or draw the eye into an interior space. Pattern can accentuate an undulating form and create movement in a static form.

I am trying to balance strength, energy and tension in my recent pieces and express my need to communicate and create.


Carol Gouthro, is a Seattle based ceramic artist and educator who has been maintaining a studio practice and exhibiting for over 40 years. Carol has an extensive exhibition record of solo, invitational, and juried exhibitions, most recently as an invited artist and workshop presenter to Biomorphic at Amoca in California, The Evocative Garden NCECA 2017 curated by Gail Brown, and Function, Form & Fantasy, Ceramics from the Dr. Robert and Deanna Harris Burger Collection at the Flint Institute of Art.  Her ceramic work has been published in many books and periodicals including the May 2016 issue of Ceramics Monthly with a feature article on her work by Matthew Kangas. Carol’s ceramic works are included in many public and private collections including the Racine Art Museum, Kamm Foundation Collection, and Kolvo/Sullivan Ceramic Collection. She has been a ceramic instructor at the Seward Park Clay Studio, and Kirkland Arts Center in Seattle for 25 years, teaches workshops internationally, leads International Arts and Craft tours and gardens any spare minute she can find.

Deborah Schwartzkopf

Rat City Studios is the workspace of Deborah Schwartzkopf, Seattle based studio potter and instructor. Her mission is to engage and build community through clay – one person, one neighborhood, and one experience at a time. In service to this pursuit, she offers studio assistant positions for emerging artists, connects people through social events, instructs classes and workshops, and maintains a lively career in the ceramic arts!