Episode 74: Judy Desimone: Abstraction Breakout

Judy DeSimone shared her experience of over 30 years teaching and had some great tips for teachers. She also talked about her ceramic work and inspirations. I loved hearing about how careful she is about the finishes, keeping areas matte while allowing some bits of gloss. Her transformation from realism to abstraction was also inspiring to hear.

Judy DeSimone is a ceramic artist living and creating art in West Chester, Pennsylvania. She earned a bachelor of science degree in art education at Moore College of Art and Design in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Her degree allowed her to pursue a career and vocation as a middle school art educator with 6th, 7th and 8th graders, at a public school in Coatesville, Pennsylvania. It was in this classroom Judy taught herself various ceramic hand building techniques leading to a love of the medium. Her ceramic enthusiasm was shared with her students.  

For thirty years, Judy’s ceramics were realistic wall pieces consisting of animals, flowers, leaves and personal diary scenes executed in bas relief. With public school retirement came a shedding of the old and a blossoming of the new to the quick, spontaneous, “why not art” she currently pursues. The “why not” view was reinforced in her retirement job, teaching art to kindergarten through eighth graders at her local Catholic school. The inhibitions of the younger students’ ideas and techniques reinforced Judy’s personal philosophy of, why not, which she applies to her ceramics. What luck to have had three-hundred-part time muses at one’s disposal. After 39 years of teaching art to Kindergarten through 8 grade students Ms. DeSimone hung up her classroom apron to pursue personal artistic endeavors.

Judy exhibits her work at galleries and craft fairs.

Artist Statement:

Building on what my faith teaches, to love your neighbor as yourself has become my artistic inspiration. In my art I strive to relate to my neighbor as myself. We as people are uniquely joined in spirit and all have particular stories. Making a visual connection that conjures a memory, an association or an expansion of the familiar is my goal. Currently, daily life and people are my muses be it a man-made or natural setting. With an ever-expanding quest of, what can I glean from life tomorrow, only the passage of time will reveal the answer.

White mid-fire stoneware clay painted with underglazes, gloss glaze and oxides fired to cone 5 are my mediums of choice. Hand building enables me to express my conceptions through my sense of touch. I experiment with shape and color with an attention to playfulness, quirkiness, and an unexpected left turn. The clay attachments and manufactured adornments for each of my ceramics I liken to clothing people wear, they dress up the piece and define a mood.