Artist Interview: Kay Franz

Posted by Jenni Kirby - April 20 2021


I believe the creative process is a flow of energy that we don’t have control over. The best you can do is ignite it and let that energy have free reign as you work.”


For life-long ceramicist Kay Franz, it all began in a college hand building class and has been an evolution ever since. “I learned early on that in my own work, I didn’t like the look of cleanly fired and glazed ceramics it didn’t look earthy enough for me. I was trying to express something different.” This set Kay on a journey to learn new methods like raku, sawdust firing, early Japanese, and Native American techniques. “I’m always trying something new. Lately I've been working with low fired red clay with white slip washed over finished surfaces. I am also exploring terra sigillata as surface colorants and heavily textured surfaces.”



Ever influenced by her surroundings, Kay finds inspiration in all things natural and primitive. Anything from bark to rocks are used to create interesting textures, and ancient archaeology provides endless inspiration. “When you’re working with clay, you’re starting a conversation, and you’re not necessarily the person in charge. My best work comes when I let my hands and the clay work together and get my brain out of the middle.” Kay says if she decides in the beginning how a piece should look, then it will never turn out as I intended. “When I let intuition and feeling take over, that’s when I create my best work.” This is evident in her recent work, which won 3rd place in the 3-Dimensional category in Crossroads’ All-Media Show, where she used needle tools to create unique textures.


One thing I’ve learned is it’s important to go with the flow. I know that’s cliché, but eventually you realize you can’t force life to go one way or another, you just have to go with it.” Through this creative flow of energy, Kay has found it evolves when you let go – and that’s when you create your best work.