[Interview] Mudgoddess Katherine Mathisen

Katherine Mathisen is a lover of words, her vocabulary immense. However, her form of communication transcends beyond the spoken word into works of art using a language that is rich with visual and tactile vocabulary. Katherine, a.k.a. Mudgoddess, markets her clay creations at Etsy.com and they are one of our favorites!

Katherine has dedicated over 15 years to the exhibition and teaching of ceramics. Her venture into ceramics evolved from an interest in plants. Take one look at some of her pieces and this becomes evident, as does her appreciation for the various forms and patterns of life that surround us, from the mundane to the fantastic.

While working at the horticulture department of Walt Disney World, Katherine was responsible for their bonsai display. She began making clay pots for her personal bonsai collection and became hooked. Katherine says her work is motivated by “a need to communicate using a language of visual and tactile vocabulary, which allows me to go beyond the limitations of my given verbal skills.”

Each of Katherine’s pieces begins with a sketch on paper. From there it evolves into a form made from moist clay. Each piece in Katherine’s collection is highly textured during the different stages of the clay, from soft to hard. “I want the surface to look familiar and mysterious at the same time,” says Katherine. “Often I create surfaces that inspire a desire in the viewer to touch the piece.”

Each work of art includes an original symbol Katherine creates as a visual vocabulary to enhance the piece. Nature and ancient cultures inspire the symbols that are created using found objects and every day items.

Katherine is currently working on larger figures and new ideas for her very popular shoe sculptures. Her most recent shoe sculptures are The Birds Nest Shoe and the Beekeeper Shoe. These wonderful creations gain quite a response from those who see them.

The newest addition to the Mudgoddess store is the whimsical faces of the small wall sculpture air planters. These are perfect for displaying in groups and the air plant is included! Katherine will be firing up the kiln with more personalities and sizes of these engaging characters.

When asked what motivates her, Katherine says it is new ideas. She looks forward to creating each new piece and there is no shortage of ideas. Taking non-clay or art-related classes is also a great motivator. The variety of classes she takes range from Tarot cards to Henna application. She is also teaching herself crochet with wire. Katherine says, “It will be interesting to see how these things will filter into my work, or if they do at all.”

To further Katherine’s inspiration, she teaches clay to adults and children. Her students motivate her to try new things and stay current. “I always want new things to show to my students. So I guess in me trying to motivate my students I am motivated,” admits Katherine.

A person’s view of Katherine’s work is as unique as the piece itself. Everyone sees something different in each piece. Katherine may not have a particular idea or notion of the finished product when she is working. She says, “There are times I work intuitively in a stream of unconscious creativity without a specific idea. I may not know what the piece is about until I have finished it or sometimes until I have lived with it for awhile.” The ideal moment is when the message received or idea communicated through the piece becomes clear to the artist.

Katherine offers several custom items that can be personalized. She offers a 2 Dove Wedding Heart than can be finished in a variety of colors and personalized with the couple’s name and wedding date. She has also created smaller hearts that can be personalized.

For those that want to add a small touch of creativity to magnetic surfaces, Katherine has a small magnet that can be personalized (http://etsy.com/listing/50300236/personalized-custom-heart-magnet). Depending on her production and show schedule, it generally takes 3-4 weeks to complete a custom order.

Katherine’s work appeals to art lovers as well as those who appreciate the unique. Her work is geared toward those individuals who like to surround themselves with soulful objects that are created by an artist and not just mass-produced.

So if you are searching for a unique item for yourself or as a gift, step on over to the Mudgoddess at Etsy.com and take a few moments to explore the many handmade clay treasures she has created. Let Katherine’s artistic creations speak to you and lead you to a place where tactile and visual meet to form the ultimate in unique expression.

(images: mudgoddess at etsy.com)

Interview and words by Kelly S. – Freelance Writer, Photographer and Interior Designer.

3 Responses to “[Interview] Mudgoddess Katherine Mathisen”
  1. What a wonderful feature. Katherine’s art evokes such a wide range of movement and emotion. Truly beautiful! I so enjoyed reading about her creative soul in this article.

  2. Nicole says:

    What a wonderful post. I love Katherine’s work – everything you showcased here is wonderful!

  3. What a wonderful interview. I feel I can now appreciate your lovely work all the more, for understanding a little of what lies beneath.

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