FAIRFIELD — When Maya Winddancer picks up a piece of clay, she has no idea what it will look like after being manipulated by her hands and placed a kiln.
The Fairfield resident will be part of this weekend’s Art on the Vine at Wooden Valley Winery.
Her love of clay surfaced as a child growing up in Georgia, where she played near a creek. She started working with clay about eight years ago, after a writing assignment at Solano Community College introduced her to the college’s Dancing Fire Wood Kiln. There she learned that wood fire mimics the formation of igneous and metamorphic rocks.
Rock hounding is also a passion.
“I make ceramics so I can make rocks,” she said.
She begins with clay of varying earth tones and cuts it into layers. It’s then smashed together into a ball shape and Winddancer begins pinching the clay, using her thumb to form a bowl or port. She makes the neck by shaping clay on a dowel, then adding it to the pot.
Winddancer strives to get a cracked effect on the outside of the bowls and pots. It’s a challenge, she said. Sometimes the pieces break. They are recycled into a new life.
“I’m constantly patching air bubbles,” she said.
Each piece takes about 20 hours, she said. Winddancer can spend three to fours just sanding the bowl or pot to remove the rough spots.
She sleeps in the living room of her one-bedroom apartment, having turned the bedroom into a studio.
“You have to be passionate to do that,” she said.
This is her second or third time at Art on the Vine. The event gives her exposure, since her work is not yet in a gallery. Winddancer has applied to be part of the Lawler House Gallery.
She earned a third place and an honorable mention last year at the Fairfield Visual Arts Association’s 50th annual Juried Art Show. She was part of the Arts Benicia “Vessels” exhibit in 2013.
Her work has also been shown at the Vacaville Art Gallery and Solano Community College.
Winddancer spent several years in the wine industry before a major life change, which she prefers not to discuss, sent her on another path.
Reach Amy Maginnis-Honey at 427-6957 or [email protected] Follow her on Twitter at www.twitter.com/amaginnisdr.