Karla graduated with a BFA from Mount Mary College, Milwaukee, WI she is “the Clay Weaver,” a pun on her prescient middle name and a reference to her distinctive pottery style. Her pieces resemble woven textiles and invite observers to a tactile exploration. That’s by design.
“I really enjoyed fiber, fabric and textile design in college, and used lots of needlework and yarn, but clay has always been my main emphasis. At one point, I thought ‘There’s gotta be a way you can weave with clay.’ I started experimenting with it and had a lot of failures,” she says.
Clay has different stages: One lump can range from wet to soft leather to the hard leather stage, depending on how long it sits. You have to know when to hold off and let it set, depending on what you’re trying to build, so the piece won’t simply collapse or crumble.
“I honestly feel like clay is a living material, an element you really have to have a relationship with and know what it can do and what it can’t do. There’s a science element,” Chambers says.
But don’t be too intimidated to try, she cautions. “Clay is a friend to all. You don’t have to have any experience to come in and start from the ground level and create something you can enjoy,” she says. “It’s a stress reliever, a chance to express yourself, because there’s no perfect way to create anything out of clay. There are some rules you have to follow, but it’s not so strict like drawing and painting.”