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 vessels, differing widely in aesthetic but tightly united by her underlying exploration of how details can be manipulated by strategic additions, transforming how the entire piece is perceived.

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. I explore how our perceptions can be intruded on and transformed despite unchangeable circumstances, transforming us, enabling us to see beauty where it isn't obvious.

Hope changes everything.

Through the use of contrasting colors, patterns, textures, and materials, I use a variety of stoneware bodies to explore how perception can be transformed. Functional forms are deliberately chosen to best facilitate this idea.

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

Seemingly divergent, my various series are actually closely unified expressions of Hope’s lens: the power of the smallest amount of hope in a harsh world (a tiny red dot on a stark background); the joy of hope's presence amid life's rigid pressures and demands (a cherry branch intersecting a rigid, cubic background); the delight of whimsy that hope brings amid daily demands (birds where numbers are expected). And finally, hope restored when all has been broken (made stronger and beautiful by 24K gilded repair joinery).

Adding a bit of surprise with unexpected images, whimsical doodles or beautiful, tactile elements such as 24K gold, weathered wood, copper wire, or rawhide, 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.

Valerie Walchek