Celebrating Women in Art! — Part 2: Maria Counts

by Hanna Zorilla

Maria Counts is an inventive and diverse ceramic artist. Her own magical and whimsical artform captivates the imagination as anthropomorphic beings. My interview with Maria shows she is just as creative and imaginative as her art in real life, taking inspiration from the wonder of nature all around her. 

How did you discover your love of ceramics and why ceramics rather than another medium?

“I was taking classes at a community college, playing around and wasting away my life. Then I discovered ceramics. I like painting and drawing, but ceramics is hands-on and very therapeutic. I believe that when you touch something for so long you’re putting your own energy in it.” 

Your work is inspired by mythical beings, deities, animal hybrids, and such… Why does this interest you and inspire your work?

“Nature, animals, and our universe… It’s just magic. Magic from my surroundings and the universe inspires me to create.”

How do you determine success?

“Success to me is less about financial gain and more about what I can contribute to society. I view somebody who is successful as kind, a great character, and cares for our planet.”

What connection do you have with your artwork?

“It’s funny because I make them and don’t really have an attachment. I hope they go to a good home. Very little connection, I feel connected when creating. Sometimes I get attached to a cute little face and want it around for a while, but my home is filled with other wonderful artwork from other talented artists.”

What do you do if you have a block or lack of inspiration? 

“If I can’t find inspiration I’ll go back and look at pictures or go to galleries to see wonderful artwork. I’ll go on social media, Instagram, to look at pictures. I’ll go to the coast and walk in forests to find inspiration.” 

How do you know when your artwork is done? Do you ever have to force yourself to stop creating?

“I always have to force myself to stop. Time just flies when I’m creating, I always stay up way too late. How do I know when I’m done? I don’t know, it’s weird, it’s like a feeling. Sometimes I’ll finish, glaze, fire the anthropomorphic beings on top of the animals and I’ll have a feeling that it needs something else… wings, or something. It’s just a feeling.” 

What advice would you give to young female artists? 

“My advice would be to create what you love and don’t care what others think. It’s hard to not listen to the critics. My mom would ask me if people really buy my work, and they do! People will make fun of your work, but create what you love. I think what’s beautiful about humans is that people have different taste. Also don’t hop on the trendy stuff, create your own work and trends.”

Maria Counts has been showing her ceramic creations at Chemers Gallery for 16 years. She continues to enthrall us and our clients with her out-of-the-box imagination. To see more of Maria’s work click this link to our website.

In case you missed our interview with Kara Bullock, click here