I first met the fabulous Rachael Wright on a rooftop restaurant in Abu Dhabi, the United Arab Emirates (we were both there for my cousin’s wedding). For her day job, Rachael devotes her time to others as a counselor.
But on her own time, she’s a talented artist with a unique perspective on the intersection of art and everyday life.
“I love clay because of its amazing ability to become so many different forms,” Rachael says. “I love how no two handmade pots are ever the same and each one has its own character.”
Rachael didn’t choose pottery as her medium so much as she stumbled across it and fell in love with clay during a required college pottery class.
“Each potter has their own unique style and way of working that comes out in their pots. I love searching for my style and voice in pottery to create pots that fit my personality.”
Rachael said she loves being inspired by nature and how each work of art is slightly different and has its own personality, whether it’s a sculptural piece or dishware that she uses in her own kitchen.
“It is very satisfying to drink out of my favorite mug or eat from a plate a good friend made. I love using art as I go through my day and enjoy making work that other people can use in their daily lives.”
Creating beautiful pieces of pottery, both functional and decorative, can be a challenging process. Essential to her work is an attitude of playfulness, Rachael said, a truth she learned from a workshop sponsored by the Dallas Craft Guild.
For Rachael, collaborating with various artists and instructors through the Guild has been key to her continued growth as an artist. They encourage each other and help each other push through the inherent difficulties, as well as inspiring her to try new ideas and techniques.
“Two major challenges for me are continuing to create better work, and finding the audience who appreciates and wants to buy pottery,” Rachael said. “I enjoy informing people about pottery and how it is made, but it can be discouraging at shows when people do not understand the time it took to make pieces, develop the skills, and supply costs.”
In those times when self-doubt and criticism threaten to overwhelm her desire to create, Rachael says she always has to remember to go back to the basics and enjoy the process.
“My fellow artists are always encouraging me to create better and better work,” Rachael says. “When I start to feel negative I always go back to the playful aspect of clay and remember to have fun with what I do.
It is easy to get bogged down with making a living or pleasing other people and lose the joy of creating art. I would encourage [Creatives] to make what they enjoy making and continue to find playfulness as they create. Joy is found in playfulness, which will show in your work.”
“I want people to use my work in their daily lives,” Rachael says. “I love to receive pictures of people drinking their tea in my mugs, eating their dinner on my plates, and putting my animal sculptures around their homes.”
Rachael encourages people to appreciate art and support local artists, incorporating art into every aspect of their every day lives. In a mass-produced society, there’s just something special about using items hand-crafted with love.
“Pottery connects us to art in our daily lives,” she said. “Drinking your morning coffee out of a mug that fits comfortably in your hand, is beautiful, and was made by techniques that have been around thousands of years is very different than drinking from a paper cup.”
Rachel Wright is a full-time counselor and part-time potter who lives with her husband in Plano, Texas. She has loved art from a young age and experimented in many different mediums before devoting her spare time to making pottery.