With over two decades of experience working in the world of digital media and technology, Jessica Bloch-Schulman never fathomed that clay, an age-old medium, would ignite a passion within her.
Searching for connection in the turbulent days of the pandemic in 2021, Jessica unexpectedly found herself drawn to the world of ceramics. Enthralled by the idea of crafting tangible creations, she plunged into countless YouTube tutorials, learning the intricate techniques of wheel-throwing and hand-building. She began taking classes at the Center for Visual Artists, and her talent was quickly recognized. She was invited to participate in a group show at the CVA, which bolstered Jessica’s confidence in her work. “People were just blown away by her technical skill and the thoughtful, beautiful, and sometimes painful emotions her figurative sculpture evokes”, says Corrie Lisk-Hurst of the CVA.
Embracing the call of clay, Jessica transformed her sunroom into a creative sanctuary, a space where she would often work late into the night exploring themes of human experience and connection through the faces that she carefully formed. “I love the moment when a small shift of clay pulls a presence out of nowhere, where all of a sudden someone is looking back at me”, said Jessica about her practice.
A pivotal moment in her artistic journey was marked by The ACGG’s Artist Support Grant. This grant gave her the opportunity to embark on a two-week sculpture workshop led by the renowned sculptor, Cristina Cordova, at the prestigious Penland School of Craft. Inspired by like-minded creatives and embraced by a physical studio, Jessica’s artistic horizons expanded with the skills and confidence to sculpt at a larger scale. The workshop inspired and motivated her to move outside of her comfort zone.
Since her time at Penland, Jessica’s approach to sculpture has evolved. A new collection will soon grace the walls of Ambleside Gallery on Elm St. in downtown Greensboro. She is looking forward with anticipation as she prepares to share her ceramic artwork with the community.
You can find out more about Jessica and her work on her website at jbsclay.com and on Instagram at @jess_b_s where she shares not just her sculptures, but the stories that breathed life into them.
The ACGG’s Artist Support Grant program is supported by the North Carolina Arts Council, a division of the Department of Natural and Cultural Resources. The Artist Support Grant will be opening for applications on August 21, 2023.