There is an ethereal beauty to the way Jackie Wride works her magic, it's as if she transfers a part of her essence into each and every sculpture no matter the size. Wride has a very specific way of working that upon first glance seems controlled and organized but every piece she creates is intuitive and carries with it personal meaning. You don't have to know what that meaning is to know that she loves every minute of making these unique sculptures.
Not surprisingly at a young age Wride knew, and so did her family, that her path in life would be a creative one. "Shape and texture from the earth" Wride says that is her vocabulary. With any ceramic artist there is two paths as options in life, functional or sculptural, Wride falls into the sculptural but I would imagine a moment comes upon her and a functional piece is born. It's rare but I have seen some beautiful vases that I have never seen anywhere else. Wride's specialty is objects that have what she terms "embellished patterns" that feel ancient but are uniquely hers.
Growing up in San Diego, Wride was exposed to the earth from the beginning. Inspired by the ocean Wride vowed to always live near nature, near the surf and near the water and so she has. You will never guess what is in her backyard, a creek. From the moment she wakes up Wride is surrounded by nature and it's not just the botanical environment it's also the societal environment that has helped shape Wride trajectory. Santa Cruz Wride says "seems more peaceful than Southern California, and the local community is more interested in art here."
It's the community that has now become such an integral part of Wride's next evolution in her earthworks pieces. "People like the idea of walking along the beach or a hiking trail and coming across a surprise" said Wride. Her works are all across Santa Cruz County and nearby towns on beaches, near creeks and all within access to the public. The goal of this body of work is simply to get the public to interact with her art and to evoke a reaction. And possibly to change the way people think about the earth, because as news reports keep telling us, it's a fragile environment that keeps getting hit with pollution, illegal dumping and offshore oil drilling to name a few.
While composing her earthworks installations, Wride takes several elements into consideration ones that do not play into a gallery type environment and which invigorate her creative process. "I realize that when I am arranging my ceramic art into the landscape, shadows and reflections of the place become part of the composition,” says Wride. In her ceramic work Wride uses patterns in the clay inspired by landscapes and nature so it made sense to start incorporating these pieces, no matter how small, into the organic landscapes of nature.
Residing in Ben Lomond, CA Wride has maintained a family life, finished graduate school at San Jose State University while welcoming the birth of her first child and accomplished a massive undertaking of uniquely hand built pieces for her Thesis project. It was all of these challenges in her life that manifested into her art, unknowingly. In her sculptural work from 2014 one can see tall structures that emphasize a 'balance' both literally and, knowing Wride's life, figuratively as well. Wride says, "I know how to push myself, to meet my goals and get through it" which one can see in her work. Determination is usually the backbone of success and when life throws challenges your way it is most likely for a reason.
Another venture to Wride's work is her summer program teaching students of all ages. "Teaching is very rewarding to me because I want my students to be reminded how magical the world really is and feel positive about life." Wride has been teaching summer classes in San Diego and has now brought her craft to Santa Cruz County with classes in ceramic sculpture, painting, glass fusing and mosaics. The best part is that every aspect of creation happens at the same location because Wride has her own kiln, to fire ceramic sculptures, which allows her students to go home with finished work at the end of the weekly session.
To work with Jackie Wride this summer check out her Summer Arts Program in Ben Lomond, CA.