"Fine crafted works of art have become a rarity as people have left behind the tradition of working with their own hands."
Debra Steidel’s self-taught style is also ever-present in the unorthodox porcelain sculptures that are crowned with intricate cast glass lids. The harmonious bond between the form of each vessel and the intricacy of each sculptural lid creates an alluring, natural vitality within the final piece. The beauty and purpose of Debra’s work tread the border between the archaic and the contemporary yet her pioneering spirit maintains a timeless essence.
THE WINDING ROAD
Debra Steidel’s career dates back to the American Craft Council shows of the 1990’s where she debuted her marine-inspired textural, ceramic sculptures and was widely represented by numerous international galleries. In the early 2000’s, Debra began to experiment with her now-famed crystalline glazes and continued to develop the form and sculptural aspects of her work.
Since 2003, she has been based just outside Austin, Texas helping establish the Steidel Fine Art gallery while incorporating new styles and techniques to continuously broaden her artistic vision. Debra Steidel has dedicated the last ten years of her artistic career to the perfection of the lidded vessel.
Debra’s recent work ushers a renaissance of the Art Nouveau period, when art was defined by organic forms, flowing curvature, and a philosophy of artistic liberty in conjunction with the natural environment. The composition of her ceramic carvings and ornamental lids are reminiscent of the works by French visionaries Émile Gallé and René Lalique. Yet she also shares the versatility of American designer Louis Comfort Tiffany, well known for his dedication to aestheticism, opalescence, and elegance.
A TIMELESS BOND
The majority of Steidel’s fine art porcelain sculptures contain interdependent vessels and lids. Her lids draw inspiration from nature, animals, and birds but also contain more archaic influences from fossils, shells and bones. Each lid is specifically shaped and chosen for a corresponding vessel. Once placed atop the chosen vessel, the lid becomes the focal point of the final piece.
THE ALLURE OF THE CRYSTALLINE
The final crystalline glaze is a mixture of oxides meticulously blended together to create a range of different colors and crystal formations. Once the piece has been brushed with the crystalline glaze, it is placed in a high-fire kiln oven and heated to 2300 degrees.
The entire crystalline glazing process demands a vast knowledge of the glaze formulas, as well as a combination of complex techniques including orchestrating specific temperature, holds and slow cooling methods. The resulting piece of art is entirely unique, exhibiting vivid colors and organic crystal formations.