Virginia Hurley

Virginia (Gin) Hurley, currently lives in her home town of Bethlehem, North Carolina. Raised in a small town she was always attracted to art and creation. She had a strong interest in architecture and engineering from a young age wishing to make things that would endure for future generations. In high school she had an introduction to ceramics that led her to seek out more knowledge about the medium. With help from her family she was managing a public casting studio and ceramic shop at the age of 16. She learned much about firing and casting in this time along with a strong understanding of small business ownership. 

She was accepted into the UNC Charlotte College of Architecture though changed her major after finding her love was in creating more than designing for others. She focused on Ceramics with a close interest in glaze and throwing in her program and completed her studies with a BA in Ceramics in 2008.

Prior to Graduation she was invited to teach ceramics at the local YMCA working often with underprivileged and special needs youth and the Deaf Community. This passion for working with those that may otherwise have missed out on art followed her to Salt Lake City Utah while she worked in the public school system as an art instructor for extended education programs and with special needs work activities.

Once she returned to North Carolina she was able to take the experiences she had to build her own personal studio while working on community grants and teaching through community programs. She worked with many groups including returning to underprivileged youth and also the elderly sharing art and creativity.

Message from Gin

"Pottery has always had an element of flame involved in the work. From the gas kiln to the pit fire, all are using heat and flame to make alchemy, by turning clay into a stone. However no process of fire involvement is as dramatic or magical for me as Raku. Though the process has changed from its origins long ago the idea of making something beautiful while allowing nature to have a final say in the look of the work, is still relevant.

I love to have control of much of my work from the clay making process to alteration and making of glazes. However, the act of raku takes much of that control out of my hands. It is freeing, yet terrifying. 

Each piece must go through what all bisque ware does in an electric kiln to gain its resilience; only to be glazed and placed into a gas fire and heated in a very fast and shocking manner to its final temperature in a matter of minutes rather than hours. While still glowing removed from the flames. Next it is to be placed into a container of flammable material. Once the flames have subsided this once mound of formed clay has become something unique and beautiful. 

From the ashes of man made flame a piece of artwork emerges like a phoenix rising from the dusty refuge to show itself in all it’s glory."

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