Artist Profile: Debra Moriarty

Having been born and raised in NYC, Manhattan was my playground – a plethora of vibrant cultures juxtaposed against all the good and bad in people working, walking and living in the city. My exposure to art was minimal at best, having attended Catholic School for 12 years. Vowing to pursue it later in life and with the need to support myself, I received an AAS Degree in Secretarial Science from the Borough of Manhattan Community College/City University of NY, providing me with the tools and skills needed to begin my adventures. Four of the 12 years of employment with an international organization were spent in Cyprus where I was introduced to clay. Upon return to NY, I worked out of the Greenwich House Pottery in the Village. An illness provided me with the opportunity to re-evaluate my life and make good on my vow. I enrolled in the NY State College of Ceramics at Alfred University, graduated with a BFA and was very fortunate to have studied under Val Cushing and Tony Hepburn. Unfortunately, my hands did not touch clay for a long time after graduation – until finally finding a studio that fit my needs and became a member of Mudstone Studios in Warren, RI.

About my work
My work is primarily wheel thrown and hand altered. I approach my work as I do life – it’s an adventure – and usually have no idea what they will look like until they emerge from the glaze firing. My philosophy is reflected in the work: you have to keep moving – spiritually, physically, emotionally and intellectually. Remaining in one place too long can be death. I want my work to give people joy, happiness and/or a good laugh and pray to God to achieve that goal.

Current work
My current efforts are focused in two directions. One is larger bowls and platters with movement in structure and glazing, Oftentimes appearing to vibrate an energy. The other direction is sculptural: thrown cylinders which are hand altered. I call them my stone figures. Some of them seem to be stuck and others seem to be struggling to move. Their stone skin protects them, but as they struggle to move it also entraps them. Their continual development is in the direction of setting them free.