Brenda Roberts, Winnsboro: Ceramics



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Brenda Roberts traces her professional art career back to high school where she designed the new school’s logo. Her second one – and the first one that paid – was designing and painting cheerleader megaphones for a rival school, but she claims that’s still a secret. She worked in graphic arts, desktop publishing, illustration, airbrush art, and exhibit design before settling into ceramics.

“Take elements from the Earth, add a little water, let dry, glaze with pretty colors, heat up to around two-thousand degrees in temperature – each step becomes a transition of raw material into a ceramic work of art,” she said, hoping that each piece “will bring joy, peace, and beauty into the lives of those that receive my work.”

Her current interests include exploring architectural ceramics and working in a Japanese firing method called Raku.

She got into Raku when some friends were taking a ceramics class and told her how much they enjoyed pulling pottery out of an 1,900-degree oven, putting it in a trash can with leaves and newspaper, and setting it on fire – which creates a variety of colors.

“I went over and watched them and got hooked,” she said.

Since then, she’s done shows around Texas and been featured on the “Texas Country Reporter” TV show.

“I was led to do art. Even before I found pottery, I was an airbrush artist and exhibit designer,” she said. “It’s communicating who you are to the general public, the same as writing or music or any other art. It’s my means of expressing myself.”

She tells the story of one of her ninth-grade students in Arkansas who was diagnosed with Asperger’s syndrome, which is known as a functioning sort of autism.

“She was horrible in everything. She wouldn’t cooperate, and they couldn’t control her. She didn’t do well in class, but I put clay in her hands and she blossomed. She’s 20 now, and she’s also brilliant at writing. She ended up being brilliant in ceramics and abstract painting, and her family is trying to market her work. She came last summer to help with a weeklong summer class, and was really good working with kids, especially special needs kids.

“With her self-expression, she gained a sense of acceptance. She was so good at what she did that I would make a big deal out of it and other students would look at her in a different light. It helped her be more accepting to other people, too, and gave her a voice and a way to express some of her emotions.”

Brenda, who has a bachelor’s degree in fine arts and is a certified public school art teacher, offers classes at her Sayadream Studio; “saya” is an Indian word that means “to teach,” she said.

“I really love working with people and seeing the expression on their face when they see their first piece of pottery come out of the kiln,” she said.

Brenda’s work is available in her studio and at www.sayadreamstudio.com.

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