My work is a portal into the ever-changing natural world of the Chesapeake Bay watershed. Using sgraffito to interpret different species of birds, fish, insects and plants on functional and sculptural porcelain forms I hope to bring to the user/viewer an awareness and appreciation of the variety of interdependent life that surrounds us.

My forms use a mid-range porcelain clay body and are either thrown or handbuilt. I use a mishima technique carving parts of the design onto the leatherhard form that will then be filled with a black underglaze. After painting on 2-3 layers of the terra sigillata I then use a sgraffito technique of carving away the black slip to reveal the drawing. Slip trailed lines are then added. After a bisque firing the interior of the forms are glazed with a teal, black or clear glaze and fired to cone 6 (approximately 2200 degrees).

Shirley Gromen received her BFA from MICA (Maryland Institute College of Art) and her MFA in ceramics from The Ohio State University. She worked many years as a graphic designer before returning to the clay studio. She has been a member of the Ceramic Guild in Washington, DC and has shown at Scope Gallery, a ceramic co-op gallery, since 2013. Her work has been selected for inclusion in numerous juried competitions and craft shows.