NCECA Emerging Artist: Natalia Arbelaez

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Natalia Arbelaez, former Artist-in-Residence (2016/2017), and current instructor at Clay Art Center, is one of two members of Clay Art Center to be awarded an Emerging Artist Award at NCECA this year in Pittsburgh, March 14th - 17th. Arbelaez alongside, Program Manager, Adam Chau, will both have work for purchase at Clay Art Center’s booth at NCECA or at the Shop at CAC. If you are interested in studying with Natalia she will be teaching Hand-Building 101 on Thursday evenings and Full Figure on Thursday mornings both starting May 3 at Clay Art Center.

Natalia Arbelaez first started working with clay in high school, but she states that the love for it didn’t set in until college. She was always interested in sculpting the human body and felt clay was the easiest and best way to do that. She would describe her work as figurative, crude, and having an essence of characters. Her solo show, “Stories of My Histories,” went up in June 2017. This was her favorite show that she’s had because of how personal it was to her. “I was able to represent my family and my culture. I was able to celebrate my mom and my dad,” she states.

When asked about how her work fits in with the ceramic world today, Arbelaez believes that the materials being used are very on trend and current. She also has dipped into social issues, due to her being heavily affected by them today. She feels that her work weaves into both today and the past, due to the pre-Colombian influence of her work.  Arbelaez is also influenced by sculptors whose work is sculptural, figurative, and has a focus on the body.

“Clay Art Center for me means family and community,” she states. Although, Arbelaez no longer has a studio here, but she loves to come back and talk with everyone. “I work a lot in isolation, but it’s nice to have everyone to come back to.” For more information about this years NCECA Expo click here.