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Terry Slonaker


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Navajo Woman Seated in Blue

Navajo Woman Seated in Blue
Ceramic (14 x 8)
Rain Maiden Wall Piece

Rain Maiden Wall Piece
Ceramic (19 x 8)
Seated Navajo Woman with Pottery

Seated Navajo Woman with Pottery
Ceramic (15 x 12)

Zuni Design Wall Piece

Zuni Design Wall Piece
Ceramic (7" x 24")
Zuni Maiden

Zuni Maiden
Ceramic (21 x 6)
Zuni Maiden Seated

Zuni Maiden Seated
Ceramic (14 x 12)

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Artist Biography


Creating artwork has always been a part of my life. From childhood, I have been making things out of almost anything I could get my hands on. When I was in high school in Kettering Ohio, I was creating and selling sculpture out of cut up tin cans from my parents' garage.

I then attended the art institute of Pittsburgh, earning an associates degree in commercial art. After graduating, I succumbed to the lure of the west and moved to Tucson, Arizona. I worked for three years as a graphic artist, but my desire to create original art pushed me to leave the security of a job and struggle as a painter, working in oils and watercolors. After several years with only marginal success, I enrolled in a ceramics class which changed my life. The beginnings of my sculpture today began in that class 20 years ago. I found clay to be the perfect medium to create the images in my head. I have set out to learn and I am still learning today the technical knowledge I need to shape the medium to fit my ideas. With my studio and kilns at my home I can continually experiment with new methods with the clay.

My goal is to create unique, one of a kind sculpture for people to enjoy. I also take pride and comfort in knowing that, if not dropped or hit with something, my sculpture will endure for a thousand years or more.

The overall look and style of my work is a combination of artistic creativity and a reflection of the hairstyles, designs and lifestyles of the different Native American groups.

Each of the sculptures I create is unique. I begin with a slab of clay, then I form it into the shape for that piece whether it is a man or a woman, standing or seated. I usually use three different clay bodies on each piece. Most of the surface of each sculpture is the natural color of each clay.

The colors you see on my sculpture are glazes applied by brush, which is the most meticulous and exacting part of the final look of each sculpture.

Each sculpture has been fired in a twenty cubic foot downdraft kiln. They are fired to 2300 degrees in a reduction firing. This type of firing is what gives the sculpture its rich earth tones on the clay and the depth of the colors in the glazes.

The final firing takes between 12 and 14 hours and must be monitored during the entire time. This final firing is not an automatic procedure. There are many factors that affect the firing, some of which I cannot control, such as humidity and outside temperatures. This adds an element of surprise to all the sculpture that comes out of the kiln.


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