Caroline Earley’s practice is grounded in the vessel tradition and incorporates hand, wheel and industrial approaches. Her work emphasizes, and sometimes reverses, the relationship between form and function through the shifting interplay of form, appendage and surface. (1)
She is fascinated by conceptions of the in-between – the tension that lies in between interactions of technology and the body, for example, or between digital creations and traditional craftwork.
“When ceramics people talk about pots, they talk about the human form: shoulders, waist, foot. I started to think about the bits that stick out as vestigial appendages, starting to form but not quite becoming what they are yet. Or if you think of children sleeping, when you hold them their bodies shift shape to fit to yours. The feeling is soft and lovely, but it’s not their natural shape. It’s an attachment, and that attachment can soothe and comfort, but it can also hold. It’s an unbreakable attachment. I see it as a metaphor for the tension of relationships, what dwells in that in-between space between doing what you should do and want to do.” (2)
Exhibiting her work nationally and internationally, Caroline Earley in 2016 won New Zealand’s highest ceramic honour – the 2016 Premier Award in the Portage Ceramic Awards – with her sleek, slipcast stoneware work, Clinch VI. The international judge Janet DeBoos said the winning work "captivated with its apparently simple conception, but one which belied the sheer cleverness and complexity of its execution. It raised questions both in its concept and fabrication. The pearly smooth, almost featureless surface of the work obscured the darker associations of its title, and certainly initially obscured the difficult, clever process by which it came into being.” (3)
Caroline Earley lives and works in the United States and returns to her base on the Kapiti Coast as often as possible. She is currently Associate Professor of Art at Boise State University in Idaho. She has two degrees in ceramics; a BFA from Ohio University and an MFA from the University of Wisconsin.