Diana: “Living A Potter’s Dream”
follows ceramic artist Diana Kersey as she deals with technical issues involved in designing, firing, glazing, and permanently installing a Gulf Coast toad ceramic panel outdoors on Mulberry Bridge, a high-traffic location in a San Antonio, Texas neighborhood park.
The toad piece is one of two designs the City of San Antonio commissioned Kersey to create. She is installing ~400 square feet of narrative tiles that incorporate her signature style and glazework into recessed areas of guardrails on two new bridges leading into historic Brackenridge Park.
In “Life-cycle of the Gulf Coast Toad” (on Mulberry Bridge), Kersey uses the Gulf Coast toad to point to everyday wildlife in our backyards, and to say that vitality of these amphibians is an indicator of healthy waterways in our shared environment.
Kersey’s Millrace Bridge golfer motif (“History of Brackenridge Golf Course”) links to and honors the adjacent municipal course designed by the premier course architect of the 1920s, A.W. Tillinghast.
Because this bond-funded bridge repair project’s completion date is late 2011, time-sensitive spring recording was required to pinpoint Kersey’s integration of her art installation with heavy construction as it occurred. I as the Filmmaker/Director captured Kersey’s design thoughts; improvisational technical efforts to test glazes, actually fire the decorative ceramics, and assemble hundreds of handmade jigsaw puzzle pieces into sizeable polygonal and quatrefoil shapes; and Kersey’s reflective interactions with fellow workers including city planners concerned about traffic flow and deadlines and construction personnel who offered hints how to permanently adhere ceramics into guardrail cement.
The tremendous scope of this commission made Kersey’s relocation to a larger studio necessary. This video also documents Diana’s activities to inhabit a workspace with larger amounts of surface area and to use new kilns (clay ovens) configured to particular specifications she required to create these public artworks.
In 2011, native Texan Diana Kersey finds herself at a pivotal career transition point. I used my probing skill for eliciting heartfelt motivations with a hip, probing eye to delve deeply into Kersey’s movement: in creative process—from the primarily solitary work of a potter to more collaborative/cooperative functions as a public artist and business owner;in physical space—from a 420 sf home studio to a 3,000 sf commercially-zoned studio/exhibition space; and in artistic stature—toward public recognition in a lineage of influential ceramic artists who have called San Antonio, Texas home. I uses the fabrication of original clay designs as a narrative prism to reveal Kersey’s deep, multifaceted artistic vision. The deadline-driven pace of physically working wet clay, firing, testing, glazing, and grouting demanded intense focus. Yet Kersey's disarming, engaging dialogue on camera also reveals that this potter is rooted in primordial traditions, consciously using clay as meditative personal expression to connect with history, spirit, and earth’s ecology.