What is first striking about Gemma’s pieces are the intricate and often surprising images on the surface. Taking inspiration from all corners of her existence, Gemma hand paints a human heart, a murmuration of swallows, a cluster of forgotten safety pins, a series of vertebrae, a pelvis, and a set of human teeth — each rendered in perfect anatomical detail.
Through her painting, Gemma uncovers an aesthetic beauty in the most secret, carnal, and mundane objects, creating a compelling contrast against the delicate form and pure white background of the ceramics.
To achieve her designs, Gemma practices “sgraffito,” a technique that originated in Classical ceramics with reemerging popularity throughout the ages, from the Renaissance to Art Nouveau. Onto the moist surface of her still unfired pieces, Gemma applies layers of colored plaster which give the paintings a fine three-dimensional quality.
After graduating from UMASS Amherst in 2010 with a BFA in ceramics, Gemma now works as an apprentice for veteran Greenfield potter, Lucy Fagella.