Paula Burke has been working in ceramics for more than 30 years. At Syracuse University she studied under David McDonald, Henry Gernheart, and Margie Hughto. Mostly she works in porcelain, despite its tendencies to warp, shrink, and crack. She likes the elegant,
glassy effect she achieves when working with this tricky material. Paula does
work at the wheel, but most of her pieces are hand built. She is very design
oriented, working out the shape and overall design of a piece before executing
Her work is heavily influenced by her perceptions of both ocean water and waterfalls. She is particularly fascinated by the ways in which water interacts with, and falls, into itself. This affects both the shape of her pieces, as well as how she finishes them. She glazes in a very painterly fashion, working mostly with glazes she makes herself. Her pieces are often very textural, which
she accomplishes through carving and stamps, which again, she makes herself.
Her body of work expresses her desire to bridge the gap between decorative and functional pottery. Most of her pieces are examples of this type of cross over, such as trays that can grace a wall but then be taken down and used for serving or tea pots equally at home full of piping hot Earl Gray or displayed on a mantle. Paula's pieces range from large sculptural stoneware bird baths for gardens, to dainty and detailed embellished buttons in porcelain.
In addition to her own work, she also works at Bob Shenfield Studios, helping
to restore the 100 year old Gruby tiles from the New York City subway system. This includes reproducing original tiles in the carved style used in the nineteenth century. She currently works at the YMCA in Fayetteville, where she teaches both children's and adult's ceramics classes.
Paula J. Burke Ceramics