In Houston, self-taught ceramicist Jodi Walsh specializes in “oritatami nendo,” the art of folding clay.
The artist: Born in Toronto, Ontario, Walsh left Canada in 1967. Since then, she has lived and traveled to more than 25 countries, including Bangladesh, Africa, Taiwan and England. In 1980, she moved to the United States and now lives in Houston.
Walsh, a multimedia artist for more than 40 years, never studied art formally, but trained privately for two years in how to use the polymer liquids she uses for texturing.
The company/studio: Jodi Walsh Art is based in Houston, where she and husband have a live/work space.
The double garage serves as the “dirty” studio for clay work and firing. She has two other studio rooms: one for adding texture to panels. The other, for storing bins of ceramic pieces.
In the beginning: After making textured panels for more than 20 years, Walsh was burned out. Instead of abandoning her original work, she added clay. Not wanting to do traditional clay construction, she came up with folding.
What is oritatami nendo: folding clay: It is a process, similar to origami. But instead of folding paper she folds clay.
The art & materials: Textured, hand-built ceramic objects and hanging sculptures in various shapes, including cubes, scrolls and seed pods, mostly in black and white.
Materials include: clay, slip, stainless steel thread, wax-covered hemp, birch panels and water-based polymers that are environmentally safe but time sensitive.
- Paints and marks with slip on slabs of wet clay,
- Cuts and folds clay.
- Fires to 2200 degrees over three days.
What’s popular: Commissions, such custom wall installations ($1,500 to $8,000) mostly in black and white.
Inspirations: Nature. Her travel. Also texture in any object.
Fun, challenging or unusual requests: Fitting an eight-foot-by-24-foot cube installation in a historical house with plaster walls. Instead of the usual two hours, the project took the entire day. I will never install in plaster again, she said.
Big break: Curated a ceramic exhibit eight years ago for the Long View Gallery in Washingon, DC. The gallery had never featured wall ceramics, and its collector base was excited.
Walsh selected three other artists for the show, titled “DMV Dirt.” Besides Walsh, the artists included Novie Trump, Lori Katz and Laurel Lukaszewski. Drew Porterfield, the gallery director, is still working us, said Walsh.
Awards/honors: Many including, being selected by Harry Cooper, curator of the National Gallery of Art in Washington, DC, for a virtual exhibit in 2021.
- Adding earth tones and pastels. Also metal pieces.
- Plans to use more than 200 pounds of wood remnants from old bowling alleys, gym floors, dance halls and houses in her work.
- Just shipped four feet of black scrolls to a collector in Santa Fe.
“She installed the work herself and changed the commission around,” said Walsh. “It looks fabulous.”
- A two-artist exhibit, “Concrete & Clay,” at the Grace Renee Gallery in Carefree, AZ, opening Nov. 4. The show features Walsh and Arizona artist Kathy Hope, who works in fluid concrete. Final arrangements are being made to take the show to New York and London in 2022.
- Hosting the James Renwick Alliance for Craft in May 2022 for a tour of art throughout the city of Houston. The Contemporary Craft Center of Houston and the new Museum of Fine Arts Houston are supporting this tour.
Where to buy: jodiart.com. Also at several galleries, including:
– Grace Renee Gallery, Carefree, AZ
– Long View Gallery in Washington, DC
– The Art Makery, Phoenix, AZ
– Exhibit by Aberson, Tulsa, OK
– Cube Gallery, London, UK
Get social at:
- Facebook: jodiart
- Instagram: @jodiartmaker
- Website: jodiart.com