Judi Mitchell

Ceramic Animal Sculptures

From my birth I spent the first three year’s entertaining guests in the lobby of my parents’ motel which I believe I fed me at an early age of how much fun it can be to put a smile on someone’s face.

Inherent in my personality is finding the fun and emotion in situations.  There is nothing better than hearing a chuckle, watching a smile, or any emotion spreading on their face when viewing my work. 

Whimsical is the words that most state about my sculptural work.  Art has been a part of my life since I was very young, from painting, to sculpting, to jewelry, etc. As a child my playdough and salt clay involved sticks being inserted for legs, or shells for antlers, etc.   A self-taught artist, I have found a strong love in sculpting, mainly in ceramics, especially within the alternative firing techniques (such as Raku, Pit, Saggar, Foil Saggar, Naked Raku and Wood Firing).  These firing techniques give my pieces the rich colors and/or organic elements that assist in providing the emotion of each piece.  Recently I have been exploring sgraffito among other methods, which I then have raku fired or mid-range fired.

Just like when I was a child, I tend to use found objects such as wood, metal, antlers, shells, pods, etc., with clay to create a piece.  When I look at the found object I see an image in my mind of what it reminds me of – for instance a seed pod may be a rabbit ear, or a piece of drift wood a horse’s tail or mane, etc.  It is exciting to see the piece coming together to what my mind had envisioned.  I feel that I am giving a new life to the found object.

My maiden name was Burd.  When I divorced I had established my professional career as Mitchell, which along with my children’s desire to have my last name the same as theirs, I kept the Mitchell name.  Birds became a way for me to appreciate my maiden name, just as I had always admired them through my childhood.   After my father passed away I started putting birds on a lot of my work to honor him, and his favorite color was red – explaining why there are a lot of red birds on my pieces.  Then after my mother’s passing brown birds have been mingling into pieces, honoring her maiden name.

My work can be found in multiple galleries with their end destination nationally and internationally.  I also am now teaching sculpture and ceramics at several venues. 

Most recent awards that I have received:

From the Earth 2010 (Tri-Lakes Art) – 1st Place and Honorable Mention for Clay
From the Earth 2011 (Tri-Lakes Art) – Best of Show for Clay and People Choice Award
From the Earth 2012 (Tri-Lakes Art) – 3rd Place for Clay
Gilpin County Art Association 2011 – 1st Place for 3D
Gilpin County Art Association 2012 – Best of Show 3D
Art Gallery 3698 Art Show 2013 – 1st Place
Art of the Egg, Evergreen 2016 – Best of Show
Gilpin County Art Association 2018 – Honorable Mention

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