Ellie began making pots in 1970 creating functional wheel thrown stoneware. She currently works in stoneware and porcelain and fires to cone 6 in oxidation. When throwing on the wheel, she feels compelled to alter the shapes in some way to interrupt a piece’s symmetry and accentuate the fluid lines and form.
Although she still does some wheel-thrown work, her current passion is working with large hand-rolled slabs of clay; drawn to the tactile and fluid quality of the clay and its response to touch. A thin piece of clay is like handling a piece of fabric.
Slabs are rolled into cylinders to form functional forms, such as vases and cups, or sculptural forms such as simple figures for placement in the garden. A variety of found or constructed objects are also used for slump or drape molds to form platters and shallow bowls.
Aspen Glenn Studio is nestled in a grove of Aspen trees just down the road from the small business district of Glenn, MI and adjoins the Dietrich home. Originally from Wisconsin, the Dietrichs have lived in Minnesota, Maryland, Washington, DC, Pennsylvania and have been in southwest Michigan since 2010. Studio and home were designed by her husband and are sited on the edge of the woods with the aspen trees providing a focal point.
Nature surrounds living and working spaces and is a key influence for her work. A love of gardening and cooking also provide inspiration for forms that interplay with nature or food.
Studied with: John Perri (University of Wisconsin-Stout), Paul Donhauser (Univ. of Wisconsin-Oshkosh), Chris Staley (Penn State), Chuck Aydlett (Penn State)
Influences: Warren McKenzie, Chris Gustin, Eva Zeisel, Betty Woodman, Karen Karnes, Michael Simon
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