Commonly, potters who focus heavily on surface design come to the realization that they are more interested in being painters than ceramicists. The opposite is true for what Amanda Dobbratz experienced as a painter who rediscovered functional ceramics.
Dobbratz explains her interest in pottery, “What draws me most to functional ceramics is how the user can approach my work with intrinsic understanding of its purpose as a vessel for holding food or drink and gradually consider its content, technique, and skill through use.”
Now Dobbratz is both a painter and potter connecting the different media through continual exploration and refinement of surface. She finds that success is achieved in her work when she is able to convey playfulness. Dobbratz makes common vessels such as cups, bowls, mugs, and plates but also focuses on very specific and absurd objects such as hanging wall baskets for cacti, items with ceramic chain handles, and even objects who’s purpose is a mystery at first glance. These elements of silliness paired with the seemingly non-representational surfaces, interesting color palette, and textural variations make her work very fun to observe and surely, even more fun to use and live with.
Dobbratz has lived in Glasgow, Scotland, and Wisconsin. She holds a BFA from the University of Wisconsin and a Masters of Reasearch in Creative Practices from the Glasgow School of Art in the UK. Dobbratz currently lives in Minneapolis where she is the Vice President of the Board of Minnesota Women Ceramics Artists and works at the Northern Clay Center. Check out her blog for makers of all kinds, Maker and Schemer.