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Painting is silent poetry, and poetry is painting that speaks. Simonides

Jenny Mastin


I have had a strong fascination with anthropology and art since childhood. Some of my greatest influences have been the primal forms and stories of traditional cultures from around the world. Primal art forms have influenced the imaginations and the works of artists throughout time. Indigenous artists were masters of utilizing materials from natural resources, as well as materials imported or manufactured by outsiders. Each form, whether a totem, mask, shield, body art or figurine was created as a means of connecting human beings to each other and to the spirit world. These works functioned as a bridge creating a sacred communion or dialogue between the physical and spirit worlds.

The creative problem solving process has been a vital part of my life. I have been active in teaching and producing art in public and private venues to children and adults throughout my adult life. It was really during my tenure as a high school art teacher that my area of personal interest began to focus on clay instead of fibers; and in particular, figurative clay sculpture. Yet even in my clay work you can witness my strong use of visual repetition, pattern, and textural elements that were integrated in my weaving processes. My days were spent designing and teaching course work challenges in the areas of ceramics, sculpture, and craft design. I structured all of these courses with a strong anthropologic component. Students researched the origins of the craft or fine art form; basically exploring WHO created the initial forms, WHY the forms were created, and HOW the process evolved as integral components of rituals and influenced civilizations over time. This process of research and study highly influenced my own creative endeavors. That interest continues to lead me toward a deeper understanding of how the daily experiences of traditional cultures, and ours, were/are interwoven with our natural environment and spiritual concepts.

Each creation I design may be based on a cultural myth, folklore, or legend, and my observations to convey my own personal narrative. My works are hand built, sculptural, low fired clay forms. The surfaces may be impressed and/or incised with a compilation of natural and manufactured textures, patterns, and symbols to convey a story or idea. Color is incorporated predominately through the application of under glazes, oxide stains, and colored slips which may be finished with heat infused encaustic wax. Metal, hemp, raffia, and other materials may be added to elaborate and exaggerate the forms. My objective with each piece is to create a contemporary interpretation and visual narrative of primal concepts.

 Jenny Mastin is a ceramic sculptor currently working as a studio artist at Jenluma Clayworks Studio in Morganton, North Carolina. Born and raised in the northeastern coastal region of the state she achieved her visual arts education with studio concentrations in Crafts Design, Sculpture and Painting. Mastin earned her Bachelor of Science degree in Art Education from East Carolina University's School of Art and Design and her Masters degree in Art Education from Appalachian State University. She has more than 27 years experience working as a professional artist and art educator of children and adults.
    Mastin has exhibited her work in North Carolina since 1989 and nationally since 2007.  She is included on the artists' registries of “Handmade in America” and the "North Carolina Arts Council", and holds an associate artist membership with  Artspace  in Raleigh, NC. She is currently being represented The RedSky Gallery of Charlotte, Gallery 262 of Waynesville, North Carolina, and The District Gallery of Knoxville, Tenn.


1976    Bachelor of Science in Art Education, East Carolina University, Greenville, NC           
1989    Masters in Art Education, Appalachian State University, Boone, NC

2011    Award of Merit
            Artspace New Works Exhibition
            Raleigh, NC
2009    Juror's Citation Award
            Knoxville, TN
2007    Regional Artist Project Grant Recipient
            Funded through the North Carolina Arts Council

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