jill solomon


Boats Iconic Forms Vessels Touchstones Wall Art About the Artist Contact

Personal Statement - Recent Shows - Resume


I was born in South Africa and my roots in that county run deep. I carry vivid memories of its sights, sounds and smells. In my early childhood, I was surrounded by African women who had a profound effect on me. They wore brightly colored clothing and beaded jewelry, emphasizing long necks and a natural elegance and dignity. They gave generously of their love. I was always amazed by their capacity to transcend their own personal and political suffering to offer compassion to me and to the children of other privileged white families for whom they cared. This body of work is my tribute to these incredible women.


I have also been influenced by the smooth rocks and larger geological formations on the beaches in northern Nova Scotia on the coast of Cape Breton Island. Over the past thirty years, I have spent many summers in the serenity of this remote wilderness area. The forms of these sea-tumbled rocks and stones, like the graceful simplicity of the African women, have significantly influenced my aesthetic.


All my work is hand-built with white earthenware clay. In the initial stages of making a piece, my focus is on achieving clarity of line and form. I then impose patterns on the form by applying various materials to the clay’s surface. 


I use the technique of saggar firing. In this process, terra sigillata (a fine-particled liquid clay) is applied to the surface of each piece. The piece is then placed in the kiln in a closed container (the saggar) and surrounded with combustible materials such as seaweed and sawdust. During the firing, these organic materials fume onto the clay. This process provides a richness of design and color which enhances the simplicity of the basic forms.


My current body of work plays with the basic concept of a boat form extending it in different directions so that the pieces are only reminiscent of boat shapes. I use textures as a way emphasizing the shape then layering many colors over each other to provide depth and contrast .