Deborah Slahta


Mediums: Ceramics
Studio: 247


A native of Hellertown, Pennsylvania and a lifelong resident of the Lehigh Valley, Deborah attended Moravian College and graduated with a Bachelors of Science in Mathematics in 1977. She came to work with clay when electing to enroll in a studio ceramics class to fulfill one of the liberal arts requirements. For close to four decades, Deborah has produced finely crafted raku and stoneware pottery. She started teaching at the Banana Factory, Bethlehem, Pennsylvania in 1999, and was accepted as a resident juried artist in May 2000. In addition to maintaining a studio at the Banana Factory, she teaches ceramic classes for adults, summer camps for children, and participates in the B-Smart after school enrichment program for at-risk youth.

Her work is exhibited in national and regional juried shows, including, “PA Craft” at the State Museum in Harrisburg, “30th Juried Show” at the Allentown Art Museum, and a solo exhibit at the Goggleworks in Reading, Pennsylvania. Deborah is represented by Liz O’Brien Gallery, New York City, New York.

Artist Statement

My work is inspired by a long tradition of vessel making. I love the feel and smell of clay. I enjoy working with my hands. With the abundance of new technology in our lives, fewer and fewer people “make”. I make things.

Forming a pot on the wheel magically transforms the clay. There is intimacy, establishing a dialogue through touch, an intense and physical involvement. My work includes raku and stoneware pottery. The vessel becomes a three-dimensional canvas, designed and glazed with a process that is exacting and time-intense.

Mathematics and art have a long historical relationship. Geometric constructions define nature and the universe. Guided by mathematics, I play with line, circle, and triangle. I use the tools of geometry- ruler, compass, and protractor- to mark off segments. I construct and integrate graphic elements and use patterned motifs to cover the surface of the vessel.

The drama and immediacy of raku contrasts sharply with the effort employed to create each pot. Carefully planned divisions of space are subjected to the heat of the kiln and uncertainty of the firing. The element of surprise, the “happy” accident, and sometimes outright failure are all part of the quest to create something of beauty.

Artist Gallery