Artist: People are ready to see | PostIndependent.com
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Artist: People are ready to see

STINA SIEGGlenwood Springs, CO Colorado
Special to the Post-Independent/Annette Roberts-Gray
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When ceramist Annette Roberts-Gray decided to make a personal statement about the Iraq war, she didn’t go about it rashly. For two or three months, she tested glazes and experimented with different tools before settling on a form. The result, created over the span of two-and-a-half years, is nearly 1,000 hand-thrown vessels, each symbolizing a fallen soldier. “It was frustration,” she said, when asked why, in 2005, she took on the project. “I felt that about the invasion and the occupation. It was sort of the only thing I could do. I mean, I am a potter. I just felt these people needed to be recognized.”Each white, opalescent vase stands less than a foot high and has a curvy, figural shape. Each is stamped with a soldier’s name, age and the insignia of his or her military branch. Vases symbolizing men have small, pointy handles, while those for women have curvy, serpentine ones. Roberts-Gray’s decision to make the pieces uniform and devoid of color lends them a somber power. “It’s more of an impact,” she said. Involved with clay since her college days in New Mexico, she set it down several years ago out of a need to make a living. Within the last 10 years, however, she returned to ceramics full-force. She built herself a studio and started to once again make art with an emphasis on elements she loves: light, pattern and form. All of these aspects have come into play in her current work, which, one day, she hopes to exhibit in its entirety.So far, she’s shown a selection of the pieces at the Carbondale Council for the Arts and Humanities and at Denver International Airport. While she had no personal connection to the war before starting the project, she’s since met parents of fallen soldiers and will craft vessels for them when asked. In the time she’s spent on the project, she feels public opinion has turned against the war, giving her work added importance.”People are ready now to look at it,” she said. While only a small fraction of the work is on display at the community center, she said she relishes the opportunity to introduce the pieces to an entirely new audience. Now, instead of just the “art crowd” seeing it, it will get a chance to touch people on their way to the gym or the pool or a Weight Watcher’s meeting.Her goal is not to tell them what to think, she said, but to give them something to think about.”I think that’s the role of an artist,” she said, “to present the work and let people draw the conclusions for themselves – and they do.”Contact Stina Sieg: 384-9111ssieg@postindependent.comPost Independent Glenwood Springs CO Colorado


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