Toni works from her home studio in Black Mountain, North Carolina. A native of Florida, Toni found herself in Germany at age 10, where she was exposed throughout her formative years to Europe’s finest masterpieces. For the next 8 years, she traveled extensively through Europe, visiting England, Italy, Holland, Austria, Hungary and France. As an adult, she spent four years creating a strong technical background in private classes with Jack D. Wolf before moving on to Broward College in Ft. Lauderdale, Florida. There she trained under Joe Molinaro for another four years.
"For a long time, I wrestled with the question of why do I do this. What is the importance of my work?
Creating art is not a choice for me. There is some primal drive, some need, something I came into the world to do. While working in my studio I am connected to my Source, peaceful and balanced. In many ways, my studio is my chapel. Making my sculptures is a spiritual practice. Throwing clay on the wheel is a meditation. You can not center your clay if you are not centered yourself. Working in the studio, time disappears, as does the rest of the world. It is about focusing on NOW. It is also a lot of fun...
The Japanese have a word, wabi-sabi. It is the appreciation of things that are not perfect. A wrinkle, a crack, even a fingerprint is much more interesting to me on a piece than something slick and perfect. I love to go with the flow and allow interesting things to happen.
Once I have assembled the pieces I have made, dried and bisque fired them, I glaze them with my own glazes before turning them over to the fire. I believe one reason I have chosen raku is that I have only minimal control over how my pieces look when they come out of the pit. It is exciting to finally scrub off the soot once they are cool enough to handle and to discover what has ultimately been created. No two are ever alike and I never tire of the process.
What makes your work important? I couldn’t answer that question for a long time. One day a shaman pointed out that beauty gives the beholder pleasure, which in turn raises their vibrations, which serves all of humanity. This idea humbles me.
My work defines me and allows me to have a vibrational conversation with you."
Black Mountain, NC