Anna Valenti is a ceramic artist born in New York. She received a BA and ceramics post-baccalaureate studies from the University of Colorado at Boulder and an MFA from the Maine College of Art. She has exhibited her work nationally. Anna weaves clay vessels ranging from baskets to chairs to screens. Her research is in fiber clay bodies and she currently teaches ceramics at Rocky Mountain College of Art + Design and Naropa University.
Stemming from family traditions of weaving, gardening, and jerry-rigging, my work centers around gathering spaces and the domestic objects that cultivate belonging. Courtyards are screened wall spaces that provide shade, air flow, and privacy. From pergolas to lattices to woven hurdle fencing, I look to courtyard structures as both dividers and containers of space. It is a vessel that one can look into, through and out of all at the same time. I weave and pinch clay vessels such as baskets, chairs, and screens to highlight the delicate interactions shared between one another. I am interested in the ways vessels draw a parallel between the connectivity of fiber clay and empathy.
Fibers are added to clay to improve tensile strength for building and dry strength for handling. Even after kiln firing, cracks and breaks can easily be repaired with fiber clay. In a soft state, clay and fiber memory parallel one another. Impressions are recorded with each touch of the hand. It is in the impressions the material holds and the way gathering spaces and domestic objects leave impressions on our relationships that I am most interested in. Through weaving clay I ask what connects us as humans and how we may foster empathy amongst us all.