Forming function, a dance, often a tug of war, between thought and object making. Add to this dialogue the sheer joy of working with clays as materially responsive as porcelain and surfaces only possible through glass fusion. A dynamic is created which becomes a life-long fascination. Delores Fortuna's work uses basic wheel thrown shapes as starting points; the clay wall defines both the silhouette of the form and records the time-event process of throwing. The clay wall becomes a fabric, a diary rich with gestural marks and intent. As a seamstress would cut, fold, and dart cloth to make a garment, she uses this clay fabric to shape utilitarian vessels. These vessels ask questions, explore solutions, and live in your home.
Early influences in Fortuna's work were the simple yet intense forms of Hans Coper, Lucy Rie and Ruth Duckwork and the color theories of Josef Albers. Fortuna had the honor of studying with Ruth Duckworth at the University of Chicago for her undergraduate and graduate degrees and Richard Lafean was pivotal in developing her wheel throwing touch. Fortuna has always responded to work which is form simple but structurally complex and derives much visual information from a diverse array of contemporary clay artists as well as historical ceramics. Her current work is shaped as much by simple thoughts as by elaborate clay working ideas.
The clays and glazes she uses are often of her own formulation, fired to stoneware temperatures (2374 degrees F) in a gas reducing fiber kiln vitrifing the porcelain clay and glazes; the glazes are food and dishwashing stable. Fortuna wants her work to bridge an art aesthetic with the craftmaking of objects; a teapot which rests on a shelf as a visual object can serve a great pot of tea.
She divides her time between her studio in Galena and teaching at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago; allowing herself to watch wild turkeys while she throws and still be able share a lifetime of information with a great group of students.
6858 Paoli Road • Paoli, Wisconsin 53508 • 608-845-6600 • Located just southwest of Madison