Tallahassee, it’s been awhile! I forgot what a nice location this is! I’m booth 24 Only one more show left for the season after this weekend!

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/ creative director husband, Kirk, and two delightful, creative daughters. In addition, her house and studio are the abode of too many cats and a Silken Windhounds. 

Artist Statement

Working with stoneware and porcelain, I create both functional and sculptural pieces. Although quite different stylistically, each of my series are united by my intention. Each represent unique expressions of what I refer to as defiant hope. How can hope be seen? How can hope break into our experience when we most need it?

In every aspect, from the use of color, shapes and textures I'm exploring how perception is transformed, enabling us to see beauty where it isn't obvious. This pursuit arose from my own journey, my own need to see through darkness. Bleakness is so often the subject of art. My aim is to find different ways of seeing when circumstances seem unchangeable and insurmountable. To find and be found by hope.

Hope can be found in numerous ways, often the smallest details are most powerful. It's expressed in the unexpected dot of color, the overlaying organic forms on geometric backgrounds, expectations of weightiness and discovering pieces are surprisingly light, yet strong; in materials that look like other than they are: clay that looks like leather, metal or even paper.

My functional stoneware pieces are created both on the wheel & hand built, then up to 30 glazes are layered by hand. No underglazes are used. Embellishments may include sculpted details, manzanita wood, woven leather, metals and 24K gilding. The layering of organic branches doesn't change the static, rigid background, but it reveals the nuances of beauty easily otherwise overlooked. Likewise, the tiniest red dot changes nothing, yet entirely transform how the pieces are seen. Hope doesn't change out circumstances, it changes how we see.

These pieces are meant to communicate through interaction as well as sight. Hope most needed must be intrusive to be effective. Functional pieces can do that in ways other works cannot.

Through my sculptural pieces, I explore using a wide range of experimental techniques, trying to push boundaries & expectations. Primarily using porcelain, I often use stains & glazes dry on the raw clay. The clay is stretched & shaped to create the look of aged leather or other textures. Sometimes I mix slurry with glass frit, stains & glazes, then shape using parchment or foil. All are oxidation fired. The most delicate of these works are framed for protection. Each of these communicate hope as well, but in ways unique to each original piece.

Hope changes everything.

Valerie Walchek