Suzanna Schlesinger Altman
Stones, twigs, pebbles and leaves were building-blocks of the fanciful imaginary worlds I created as a child. Today, with an awareness of the long history of Jewish practice and belief and of the feminist tradition, these and other natural elements make up the visual language through which I explore both the beauty and the struggles of the here and now.

As a sculptor, I use the symbolism of stones and pebbles, moved and etched by passing water, to explore the grief of my father’s illness and death. Seedpods, crustaceans, muscles and veins, help me explore issues of struggle and recovery. The duality of inner and outer, of dry and wet, colorless and vivid, depicts a multiplicity of existence. Through these juxtapositions, I ask the viewer to break beyond the outer shell, to explore the inner being as well as the outer, to move beyond the border, to discover the possibility of the unknown.

As a functional potter, I find great enjoyment in the ability to use natural forms to create simple, beautiful pieces that can be integrated into the ritual of life. The ordinary imagery of the pieces is intended to remind the user of the magnificence of the natural world of which we are a part. Too often, in religious and ritual art, representations of the environment are exotic and foreign. As I incorporate the natural images common to the North American landscape into such art, I ask the viewer to see the beauty of creation as it exists around us.