1 of 4 interviews with 4 New Mexico Artists - Ceramic Sculptor, Debra Fritts

• Saturday, February 09, 2013 •

On April 19, 2013, artists from around the country will be meeting in Santa Fe, New Mexico for an Art Immersion Trip with workshops – 4 options with 4 different artists. These 4 artists are opening their studios to participants. The numbers are small and the experience will be intimate and inspiring. More...

This week I am going to be blogging with interviews with each extraordinary artist. 

Debra Fritts is a studio artist working in Abiquiu, New Mexico. She received her undergraduate degree in Art Education from the University of Tennessee, Knoxville and continued graduate studies in ceramic sculpture, painting and printmaking. Debra conducts master classes and workshops nationally. Fritts has achieved national recognition for her work in ceramic sculpture. Her career has included invitational exhibitions, awards, museum exhibitions, gallery representation, private collections and publications. Her sculptures were exhibited in “Form and Imagination,” honoring women ceramic sculptors at the American Museum of Ceramic Art, Pomona, California and are in the permanent collection at the Fuller Museum in Massachusetts. More…
My interview with Debra:

Norma – When I met you several years back, you lived and maintained a studio in Atlanta, Georgia. What made you decide to move to Abiquiu, New Mexico, now making it your residence and place of your creative work?

Debra - The open space - the light, the clean air and the beauty of the landscape. Frank and I would visit NM yearly because we loved the area and felt relaxed.  We would spend a few days in Santa Fe, a few days in Taos but would always stay longer in Abiquiu - a quiet retreat where we felt so connected to the land. Finally we realized it was time to live the life we wanted - so we found a very special place in Abiquiu.  We really wanted the isolation - the quiet.

Norma Your work has always conveyed strong narrative in a single form. Though your figures are mostly women, I know both men and women have collect your work. Can you talk a little bit about why it is that your message speaks to such a broad audience?

Debra - The best response I can get from a collector is "I feel something - I feel there is something more than the figure"  I think people connect with the spiritual content of my work and the mystery of the piece.  Aren't we all searching for honesty?  I feel my audience reaches out the rawness and the honesty.

Norma You live close to Gerogia O’Keeffe’s home and studio and very near the “WhitePlace” where she often painted. What impact has this location had on your creative musings and what affect has this new sense of “place” had on your personal work?

DebraOf course - this new location is speaking to my work - it is my life now.  The white formations are extremely sculptural and are screaming "figures"  - I feel small walking among these beautiful white rocks.  My thoughts are now "how can I connect the figure andthe rock in my sculptures?"  Also the raven and the coyote are appearing.  The Hispanic faith and the admiration of the Santos has influenced my work - now I have a series that is titled "Lady of Shining Light" - which is based on females connecting to the earth.  O'Keeffe’s love of the land, her strength and her need for simplicity has encouraged many woman to grow and discover in this magical area.

Norma What has been the response from students who have taken workshops in your Abiquiu studio? What is it like for them to experience the intimacy of your studio space and the beauty of this amazing region?

Debra - Students are amazed - all have enjoyed our walks in Plaza Blanca, Ghost Ranch and Carson National Forest.  They have responded to the rich history in the area - the power of the morning and night sky - and they are inspired to work in the studio.  Many now have returned for three years.  It is easy to fall in love with the "land of enchantment"

For more information about Debra Fritts visit her website. To enroll in her workshop and participate in the Art Immersion Trip to Santa Fe and Abiquiu click here.