Wanda Garrity has a Bachelor of Science degree from the Air Force Academy and a Master's degree from Troy State. In 2000, Wanda was a Major in the Air Force, working a stressful logistics automation project for Headquarters Pacific Command. Her efforts to find a non-medical way to ease her stress led her to try pottery. She found that a weekend of pottery eased the stress enough to handle a stressful work week. After 29 years in the Air Force, Wanda retired in 2004 as a Lt Colonel and moved to the Puget Sound area with her husband Tom. She is a member of the Gig Harbor Open Studio Tour group of commercial artists.
She evolved from a weekend potter, intent on throwing as much as possible, to a studio potter, working as time permits, understanding that "planet time" is precious. She is mostly self taught with experience gained from workshops, research, and trial and error.
Pottery, for Wanda, is a passion, not a business. She works in spurts of energy and enthusiasm, and only when it feels right. "If I try to push it, I am not happy with the results." She is not production oriented .... each piece she makes is different from those that have come before.
She places a great deal of effort on refining her work. Curves, lines, and balance are very important and she is known for her finish work. Most pieces have tops with a decorative flair that often include clay sculptural pieces, driftwood, crystals, shells, and other items that complement the surfaces.
Artist's Statement: "My life has been stimulated by the variety of beautiful things I’ve experienced in my travels. I am very mechanically-oriented and carry that to my pottery. My goal is to ensure each piece has a smooth flow from start to finish…to create beautiful pieces of art – both functional and decorative – in a variety of firing techniques.”
The Japanese symbol for Raku means "enjoyment - the conscious return to ...direct and primitive treatment ..." Raku originated in the period 1573-1615 for the purpose of making a single tea bowl for the tea ceremony. Today’s Raku process requires an intimate understanding of the materials, transforming the pottery into dramatic forms of Art. Raku pottery is fired to approximately 1850° F and removed hot from the kiln. The vessel is quickly placed in a container with combustible materials and covered. The materials burn, changing the color and chemistry of the vessel and its glaze.
Saggar pottery is handmade from clay and coated with several layers of Terra-Sigillata, a slip containing very fine particles of clay. After application, the Terra-Sigillata is buffed with a soft cloth and bisque fired. The vessels are coated with chemicals, wrapped in aluminum foil with leaves, feathers, horse hair or other combustible materials and fired in a Raku kiln to about 1450 ° F. After this firing, the vessels are cleaned, sealed and lightly waxed.
Carbon pottery is handmade from clay, coated with Terra-Sigillata, buffed, and bisque fired. Then the pieces are fired in a Raku kiln and removed at 1150° F. Individual pieces of horse hair or Emu feathers are placed on the vessel to create carbon lines. Some vessels are sprinkled with sugar, creating small dots of carbon. The vessels are cleaned, sealed, and lightly waxed.
Porcelain pottery is thrown on the potter’s wheel and/or hand built. Each piece is bisque fired to 1800°F and then glaze fired to 2300°F. I make all the glazes from raw materials, based on tested formulas. These pieces are functional, intended for household use, and are microwave and dishwasher safe.