PUBLISHED: 4:57 PM on Wednesday, September 5, 2007
Artist throws herself behind the wheel
As a member of the Juneau Artists Gallery since the early years, Jane Terry has seen the small cooperative of local artists grow to nurture a thriving artists community. Terry is the featured artist of the Juneau Artists Gallery for September at the upcoming First Friday event at their downtown location.

"My newest work, wheel-thrown and hand-built ceramic plates, are displayed with an arrangement of found and made objects that I feel comment on subsistence, sustenance, and nourishment in the Southeast Alaskan environment."

Courtesy photo
  Jane Terry is the featured artist of the Juneau Artists Gallery for September, and her work features stoneware plates, bowls, pots and sculptural pieces.
Terry has been in Juneau over 10 years and enjoys working with clay, beads, and local weaving materials - including willow, cedar and spruce roots.

"I'm working in mixed media, and this is reflected in my current series of plates, which will be on exhibit at the gallery. One is a willow basket with real crab shell, stoneware plate and egg, spruce cones and feathers. Another has a devil's club leaf design."

The old beauty and traditions live on in her work.

"I bring what I am in the process of discovering to the visual table via a series of stoneware plates. These plates are inspired and are embellished by natural materials native to this rain forest which sustains our souls."

Terry is a painter and a potter, but clay was her favorite medium.

"The joy of working in clay is that something someone would consider a piece of art is also functional".

Her stoneware plates, bowls, pots and sculptural pieces are marked with a little fish, a kind of signature symbol she incises in the clay.

Terry describes potters as often building objects using slabs of clay, or by forming and building up a piece as it sits on a work table. She prefers working on the turning potter's wheel because of the meditative quality of that process.

"You have to be able to focus your life in order to actually create the piece from a lump of clay to the finished article. It's a process that demands you pay attention. Books have been written about the art of centering. You take the modest lump of clay and begin the process, you have to center it. For a beginner that's the hardest part; getting that lump of clay spinning with you."

She favors a human-powered kick wheel over an electric wheel.

"You get directly involved. It's more intimate, and you learn a few more lessons."

Terry has her kiln and wheel set up in her home, which is a big improvement over working in a studio away from home.

"It's really fun to be able to get up in the morning, go into your studio with your cup of coffee and go to work".

Terry grew up in California, and started throwing pots in high school. She worked as a graphic artist and paste-up artist for a design company. She's seen the industry go from ink and wax and galleys to computers. She did computer mapping as an engineering technician, but prefers the old-fashioned, hands-on style of graphic design. She has also taught pottery and ceramics. She has two grown children.

Currently Terry is employed at the Juneau-Douglas City Museum where she "works with a wonderful group of staff and volunteers."

Terry's artwork can be viewed at the Juneau Artists Gallery in the Senate Mall Building on S. Franklin Street. She is one of almost 30 local artists who man the shop year round. Stop in to meet the artist-on-duty each day and especially on the evening of each First Friday.