As a cancer survivor, Colorado-based artist Annie Brooks believes each new day is a bonus. Her passionate embrace of life is apparent in the bold, yet delicate patterns of her work. Annie's creations channel her love of the natural world—in particular the wide expanses of sky and wild crags of the Colorado mountains; simultaneously they convey her interest in ancient civilizations and Asian cultures. Annie began what she describes as her "love affair" with clay in 1968 at the age of 17; in 1999, she was awarded a Fulbright Memorial Fund Scholarship, which allowed her to travel to Japan to study the work of Soji Hamada, the Japanese potter whose work has deeply influenced her own. Annie’s unique stoneware vessels are thrown on pottery wheels.
Of her process, Annie writes, “After a piece is trimmed and air-dried, three coats of fine clay mixture is airbrushed on all sides of it and burnished, or hand polished. This is a very time-consuming process because the pieces have not been fired and are therefore very fragile. Breakage at this stage is eminent. During the burnishing process, the pieces look as if they have been dipped in wax, because the burnishing seals the surface coating of the fine clay that is called Terra Siglata. The pieces are then fired to 1800 degrees and allowed to cool. They are then stacked in the kiln and fired to 1000 degrees. At this time, they are removed by hand, while I am wearing fire fighter gloves and protective clothing. The hot pots are placed on kiln bricks and I have 10-12 seconds to get the horse hair placed onto the piece. As I drape the hair, it singes and goes into the surface of the pot. The wood I use is collected on hikes through the Rocky Mountains or along West Coast shores. Each of the wood pieces is sanded, drilled and epoxy glued onto a dowel and then sealed with wax or polyurethane.