Suttons Bay this weekend, booth 76 up by the library. See you there!

About the Artist


Artist Bio

Valerie Walchek is a ceramic artist currently based in central Florida.

Primarily functional, her forms are created to be touched and are layered with detail and meaning. The effectiveness of her design choices is born out by the delight expressed by casual passersby, even before they are aware of her intentional message. Every aspect, from the use of color, attention to shape and texture, and even the surprising lightness, prompt delight.

Working primarily with stoneware, she creates a variety of ceramic pieces, widely differing in aesthetic but tightly united by her underlying exploration of how perception can be manipulated by strategic additions, transforming how the entire piece is perceived.

The juxtaposition of the organic beauty in nature with the formal constraints of architecture inform and guide her art, as does finding ways to incorporate the genius of ancient designs with modern aesthetics. These ideas remain at the core of her work, tying together seemingly unconnected series. 

Walchek’s formal training includes degrees in Sculpture and Art History as well as in History and Philosophy, from Colorado State University. Much of her early life was spent traveling the world with her family and was deeply impacted by the various cultures encountered. After university she continued to embrace her global citizenship. Living and working in the Middle East, Europe, Japan, and Russia, she studied art, taught English, worked in cross-cultural training with international Christian organizations. 

Intersections of these cultural influences continue to inspire her work and can be seen in the expressive dilemmas she explores in her work. She has won numerous awards for her work, and has been privileged to create exclusive designs for major corporations and high end stores.

Walchek is blessed to have the encouragement and support of an artist / filmmaker husband, Kirk, and two delightful, creative daughters. In addition, her house and studio are the abode of too many cats and two Silken Windhounds. 

Artist Statement

It is Hope which allows us to see the invisible and enables us to achieve the impossible.

Using a variety of stoneware bodies & glazes, I explore how perception is transformed by even the smallest detail, despite unchangeable circumstances, transforming us, enabling us to see beauty where it isn't obvious. Backgrounds don't change when something is added, yet the smallest dot can transform how we see. Likewise, hope may not change our circumstances, but it radically changes our perception. It radically changes us.

I refer to this as Defiant Hope

Though quite different stylistically, all my series are expressions of this defiant hope.

Hope's Lens - the power of hope in a harsh world (a tiny red dot on a stark background)

Hope's Presence amid life's pressures - (a branch invading a rigid, cubic background)

Hope's Promise of joy to come - (Cherries dangling from branches and peeking from amongst leaves)

Hope's Delight amid daily demands - (birds where numbers are expected)

Hope's Restoration when all has been broken - (24K repair joinery)

Adding a bit of surprise with unexpected images, whimsical doodles or beautiful, tactile elements such as 24K gold, weathered wood, copper wire, and leather elevate the forms beyond the function. They infuse delight and serve as a continual reminder that joy in the little things is a most powerful gift. Beauty draws us toward joy and pours hope into our spirits.

Hope changes everything.

Valerie Walchek