By Jesse Bertel

Denise Incao’s love of nature is reflected in her ceramic and mixed-media sculptural works. In her new exhibit, “Art with Nature in Mind,” art enthusiasts can see this intimate relationship to the natural world reflected in her choice of materials, textures, colors and titles. The exhibit runs from July 15 through Sept. 14 at ’Tis Art Gallery, 105 S. Cortez St., Prescott.

Incao spoke with Across the Street ahead of the exhibition. The following interview was edited for length and clarity.

How often do you create new work and how long does the process take?

Usually, when I’m working on my sculptural pieces, I work on multiple pieces at a time because each piece has to go through different stages that are very time-consuming. I find that if I just worked on one piece at a time from start to finish, it’s not as good a use of my time. So, I will start working on pieces just in the raw clay stage and work on multiple, maybe four to six pieces at a time. That first stage will take maybe two to three weeks because I have to also wait until the pieces dry before I can fire them. Then after they’re bisque-fired, I’ll stain and glaze everything. I’ll put the color on and then I have to wait for those pieces to dry before they’re glaze fired, which is, you know, each firing is a couple of days. And then all of the assembly of the hanging materials or the dangly parts. I use lots of beads. I glue lots and lots of little beads and things into recessed areas. So, all of that, working on a group of them would probably take another couple of weeks. A body of work of about six to eight pieces would take a couple of months.

What inspired you to become an artist and work with mixed media?

I have a degree in ceramics from Auburn University in Alabama. I got into ceramics, of course, first doing pottery. I have always been more drawn to the expressive process of creating and I found that doing more sculptural work with clay was more therapeutic and fun, and I just felt a lot better than kind of doing production pottery work. Then as I started to kind of develop my sculptural style, which has always been very heavily textured and earthy in color, I started to experiment with using found objects, a lot of bone, wood, glass and pearl beads. Did I already say rusty metal stuff? I love using rusty metal.

What do art patrons respond to the most when they see your work on display?

A lot of people have a hard time explaining really what it is besides just feeling really drawn to something because of how it makes them feel inside. A lot of people like the pieces because of their earthiness and how it feels like it connects them, like it’s something that they can have in their home, but it makes them think of nature and the forest. I guess depending on the elements, it makes them think of different things. I think it’s kind of more of an emotional reaction.

For more information about Denise Incao’s work, visit www.deniseincao.com.

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