Place is everything. It defines what we do, what we see, who we meet and how we live. I am fascinated by places, specifically, in the unique flora, fauna, and landscape of each environment I live in. My goal is to observe and interrogate both the environment I see around me as well as my experiences within it. I then translate this information into detailed sgraffitto carvings on both functional and non-functional ceramic work.
By exploring dualities both in technique and imagery, I confront notions of good versus bad, expectation versus reality, and fear versus safety. I aim to achieve a balance in my pieces, just as nature achieves order through necessary dichotomies. A delicate desert flower cannot bloom without the protection of the cacti’s menacing spines. Just as the concealed, cold-blooded rattlesnake cannot survive without exposing itself to the desert sun’s heat. Nature is riddled with these fascinating contrasts which I use to symbolize some of the most profound human dilemmas.
Through the means of handmade pottery, my artwork connects the viewer with the natural world that surrounds them and promotes its critical observation. The intimate, functional objects I create act as windows into the outside world, into what extends beyond the comfortable homes in which we reside. My representational imagery allows viewers of all backgrounds to relate with a common narrative that unites us all: our surroundings.
Alissa Mittl received her BA in Studio Art and Art History from Florida State University. She has apprenticed for working ceramic artists Sue Tirrell (Pray, MT) and Julie Guyot (Tallahassee, FL), and received fellowships to attend workshops at both Anderson Ranch Arts Center (Snowmass Village, CO) and Penland School of Crafts (Bakersfield, NC).
Originally from southwest Florida, her work has shown both locally and nationally. Mittl completed two terms as a Ceramic Artist in Residence at the Mendocino Art Center (Mendocino, CA) in August 2018. She is currently a long term ceramics resident at the Taos Clay Studio in Northern New Mexico.
Mittl at work at the Mendocino Art Center.