Freak of the Week ~ Noelle M Horsfield

Check out my weekly feature of a like minded creative doing especially cool things.  Below you will find their answers to my list of questions.  Share support and leave comments - What did you like best about this week's Freak?  Were you inspired? Educated? or otherwise effected?  Would you like to be featured?  Leave your comments at the bottom of the post.  Thanks for reading ~

  1. Who are you?  Noelle Horsfield

  2. What do you do?  I make things, I read, I listen, I watch, I love, I cook, I walk, I research...I think way too much!
  3. What is your line of work?  I am a full time studio potter.  I make hand built, slip decorated earthenware pots and teach weekly classes in my home studio.
  4. Tell your history in 200 words or less.  I was raised on a farm in Southern Ohio where I spent my time reading books, playing in the woods, riding my pony, and creating things to amuse myself.  I have always known that I needed to make art, so after high school, I attended a variety of colleges, all majoring in fine arts, as well as spending time at Haystack Mountain School of Art.  When my husband Scott and I married in 1997, we decided we wanted to experience living in different areas of the country, so we moved first to Northwest Indiana, then to Maine, then to Massachusetts, and, due to family needs, finally back to Ashland, Kentucky, which is near the homes of both of our parents.  This experience of living a somewhat transient lifestyle has offered many life lessons and has greatly influenced the values I hold dear, both as an artist and as a human being
  5. How do you know Crispina?  I have been a huge fan of Crispina’s work ever since seeing her incredible blankets and sweet raggamuffins in Sundance Catalog. So, when we moved from Maine to Northampton, MA in October of 2008, and I saw a small ad in the local paper for Crispina’s first Holiday Show & Sale, I nearly flipped to know we lived so close to one another.  My husband and I went to the sale, we met Crispina, who was as charming as I always knew she would be, and the next year I was a vendor at the Holiday Show...Crispina has been a friend and inspiration to me ever since!  Tell a story – how did you meet?  When?  Where?  Who introduced you?
  6.  Who/what has been most influential in your work?  I am most influenced by folk art, outsider art, and by utilitarian and decorative pieces made by self taught artists.  I love looking at things made by people who create simply for the joy of making something.  These people often don’t identify themselves as artists, and their work often gets overlooked during art history discussions, but folk art has an emotional resonance that I strive for in my own work.
  7. If you could (you probably are) send(ing) a message to the world what would it be?  I would want people to trust the comfort, peace, and soul that comes from living a life filled with things made by hand.  It is so easy to go out and buy ten mass produced dishes for the price of one of my pieces, but those department store dishes will never offer the sense of connection that comes with spending time with a cup, bowl, or dish made by my hands.
  8. When and how did you know to follow the path you have chosen?  As I said, I have always needed to make SOMETHING, and this has led me to work in a variety of mediums over the years...everything from jewelry to mosaics to cut paper collage. But, as I begin master each media and it becomes less challenging for me, my interest begins to fade.  I knew I was onto something with ceramics when I realized both the infinite creative possibilities of the ceramic medium and the technical challenges inherent in working with clay, glaze, firing temperature, and technique.
  9. Where do you find your inspiration/motivation to continue?  I find I am at my happiest when I have a number of projects underway in the studio and I love knowing that there are things to be done.  I have some health issues, so for me the challenge is in finding the balance of working and taking care of myself.  I am learning to seize the opportunity on the days when I feel really good and get lots of work done, so that on the days when I don’t feel so great, I can allow myself to rest a bit.
  10. Aside from working, how do you spend your time? I love to cook, spend time with my husband and our 3 sweet shelter dogs, read and listen to good music.  It is also very important to me to try to give back to the community, which is why both my husband and I have devoted time to help out with a new local foods market in our area called The Wild Ramp (find out more at www.wildramp.org )  My way of helping out is to create a large piece of ceramic installation art for the market, as well as handmade tiles for the cashier’s counter, which puts me back in the studio, but that’s where I like to be!
  11.  What is one of your fondest memories?  I spent some time in 2008 working in the studios at Watershed Center for Ceramic Art in Maine, and, as I look back, every second I spent there is magic.  However, there was one evening when, after a long day of firing the salt kiln, I was part of a group that was treated to a dinner of homemade pasta eaten from dishes made by countless past Watershed Artists on dining tables pulled out on the lawn under the Maine stars.  It was an evening filled with friends, good food, and pure joy.  Why?
  12.  Do you have a prized possession?  What is it?  My husband Scott and I have collected so many lovely artist made pieces, mostly ceramics, over the years and each of these items is important to me in the memories that each holds and the experiences that each one represents.  However, I know that if they were all gone tomorrow, I would still have those memories inside me as well as the promise of new ones yet to be.
  13. Tell about a magical moment that comes to mind when you look back on your life experience?  In 2009 my husband Scott and I lived in Florence, MA, right beside the Mill River.  On Christmas Evening of that year we started to let our dogs out before bed and happened to look out our windows into the backyard and noticed a dark shape there.  We turned on our outdoor lights and watched as five black bears made their way out of the trees.  We watched in wonder as they ambled around, played, and one climbed a tree and took a few swings at our bird feeder before the just continued on their path...it felt like a magical little circus just for us!
  14. If you were able to prepare a meal for anyone – dead or alive, who would it be?  This is an easy one...Frida Kahlo.  What would you want to discuss with that person?  Obviously I would want to know about her art and her incredible lust for life and the amazing people with whom she spent her time.  But, on a more personal level, I would ask her how she found the courage to live with such daring, while dealing with terrible physical pain and suffering all through her life.  Of course, I would also show her my left arm, which is tattooed with her portrait from the cover of Vogue Magazine...and hope that she would be flattered.  What would you serve?  I don’t think the food would be as important as the wine, but it would definitely be something warming and simple; and there incredible dark chocolate cake for dessert.
  15. What is your favorite color? Blue...the blue that changes with the light like the sea in Maine.
  16. What place is your favorite travel destination?  I truly have not travelled as much as I would like, so I will let you know when I have a favorite spot!
  17. What is a goal or focus for your next 12 months? Over the past year, I have been working away in my studio, trying to develop a style and system of working in clay that fits where I am in my life right now.  I feel like I have just started to produce pieces that I am beginning to be happy with and which can form the basis for future work and development.  It makes me happy to know that, in the next twelve months, I can begin to put some work out in the world and see what happens...look for an Etsy Shop in the near future, an updated website very soon, and inclusion of my work in regional and national fine craft shows in the next year.
  18. How would you like to be different from who you are now, in 10 years? If you had asked my 10 years ago where I would be right now, I’m sure my plans would have looked nothing like my life, so I try not to create too definite a plan for the future.  However, I want to continue with my clay work, and, as I become more confident with my current way of making work, begin to include some of my social and political views in my pots.  I want to move into a place where I am not only bringing comfort and beauty to people’s homes; I want to give them something to think about as well.
  19. Paint a picture of your legacy.  How would you like to be remembered or thought of?  I try not to think about that...better to focus on the present and let the chips fall where they may!

    Noelle Horsfield Modern Folk Artist, 2707 Cumberland Ave., Ashland, KY 41102.  (207) 522-7868 noellehorsfield@gmail.com www.NoelleHorsfield.com