Creates 'Earth & Inks'
|By Jackie Allder
Observer Staff Writer
|An exhibit featuring the work of Reston artist Tracie Griffith
Tso will continue through Nov. 25 at the Vienna Arts Society
Arts Center. "Earth & Inks" features wheel-thrown and hand-built
pottery pieces with bamboo, orchid and lotus designs, as well
as other traditional Chinese images. Some of Griffith Tso's
rice paper pieces, as well as some handbag designs, also will
be showcased at the exhibit.
|"They're all handmade and one-of-a-kind," she said.
|The majority of the pieces were created in Kentucky, where
Griffith Tso and her husband lived until about six months
ago when they moved to Reston. While in Kentucky, Griffith
Tso collaborated with Patricia Ferrell of Brushy Fork Creek
Studio and Gallery to create the handmade pottery pieces on
which she painted Chinese designs.
|Griffith Tso has been specializing in Chinese artwork since
she first started art classes at the age of 12. "It's all
extremely symbolic," she said, explaining that beginners in
Chinese art first learn about the "four gentlemen" that represent
the four seasons. Artists can then build on those four designs
(bamboo, orchid, plum blossom and chrysanthemum) and create
new images, she said.
|While it was not Griffith Tso's idea to study art—her mother
wanted to decorate her home with original pieces of art—she
has successfully continued the creative career. In college,
she studied journalism and uncovered an aptitude for newspaper
and publication computer graphics, which she continues to
|Since moving to Reston, Griffith Tso has been working out
of the Reston Community Center at Lake Anne. She said there
are differences between every studio from the composition
of the clay to the types and colors of glazes, but she is
learning to navigate her way around the Reston studio.
|"There's so many opportunities for things to go wrong,"
she said about the process of creating a painted piece of
pottery. When working with Ferrell, she said, they were able
to get the process "down to an art," and she is still traveling
to Kentucky to continue work with Ferrell.
|Nonetheless, Griffith Tso has found a nice fit at the Reston
Community Center, and the longtime art instructor said she
hopes to teach some courses there next year.
|The process that she and Ferrell developed involves molding
a piece of clay into a specific design, then allowing it to
dry and become greenware. Instead of firing the clay in the
kiln and then painting it, Griffith Tso paints an underglaze
or white background on the greenware piece, and then she brush
paints the design onto the piece using colored underglazes.
The piece receives a clear coat and is then fired in the kiln
at such high temperatures that the pieces are microwave and
dishwasher safe, she said.
|"It sort of gives you a different dimension to a piece of
pottery," she said.
|Griffith Tso's exhibit at the Vienna Arts Society Arts Center
features many pieces that are available for purchase. The
center is located at 115 Pleasant Street in Vienna.