Judi Tavill’s ceramic creations take after corals — in terms of their shape and texture. Her creative process is long and involved and requires both planning and improvisation. “Using a personal visual vocabulary, I explore life’s richness and fragility,” she writes on her website, “focusing on the interplay between deeply carved lines of undulating curves and rich hand texturing that pierces and prods through the clay’s surface.” This process involves building from the inside out while developing its surface from the outside in.
Born in 1968 in Baltimore, MD, Tavill received her BFA in Fashion Design from the Washington University in Saint Louis in 1990 and achieved success as a fashion and textile print designer before pursuing her art interests. After delving into various mediums, she found clay in 2003.
Her creations are inspired by both natural and man-made forms. “I absolutely am inspired by nature as well as architecture, design, and culture,” she shared in an interview with Monmouth Arts. “I work to abstract what I am inspired by and incorporate form or color or construction in my work without necessarily creating a direct reference.”
According to Tavill, her coral texture-looking work was actually inspired by looking at other forms of nature and creating texture with various tools. This experimentation with texture ended up creating such distinct sculptures. “It was at that point that I rode the wave (no pun intended) to see where that texture took the work,” she says.
Based on the oceanic shore of New Jersey, Tavill has traveled around the country to lead demonstration and hands-on workshops as well as having taught locally and volunteering to work with special needs students. But you can also follow her work online, via Instagram.