Edith Cauchi: Sculpture in Ceramics


Edith Cauchi devoted thirty years of her life to ceramic art.  When she and her husband Joe Cauchi moved from New York City to Bethel, Connecticut in 1949 they immediately redesigned an old rural farm building into an art studio.  Within a few months, Edith proudly launched Turkey Plain Pottery, named after the nearby local Turkey Plain Road.  With a modest sign on the highway and a few business cards, Edith began to create original pottery designs - beginning with handmade bowls, platters, pitchers and vases.

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The two rabbits (ceramic with custom glaze, 1960)

Although she owned a potter's wheel, it was not a centerpiece of her workshop.   While most craft potters invested in molds that allowed the production of dozens, hundreds or evens thousands of identical items, Edith never used a mold.  Instead she approached clay with the eye of an artist.  She felt that each piece, naturally, should be made entirely by hand.  Starting with a big block of gray-brown moist clay, she used sculptor's tools to carve and shape each ceramic piece. Although she had no electrical technology training she mastered the skill of running "high fire" electric kilns that would harden the clay at 2000 - 2300 degrees Fahrenheit. The firing process took two and a half days, (and sometimes dimmed the lights of the neighbors).

Trained as a teacher, Edith decided to share her knowledge with the young children of rural Fairfiield County.  And so was born the "Clay Club" of Turkey Plain Pottery.  Beginning with a few neighbors and friends of her son Richard, she opened her studio to children age 5 to 10 years old. 

Because there were no comparable art classes for young children in the local schools, she especially enjoyed opening their minds, and their hands to the creative medium.   Beginning with the basics - what is clay and how you can use it, she encouraged her young students to use their imagination.  Meeting once a month on Saturday morning, they would work as a group to construct a frog, a dinosaur, a pet cat, and sometimes even a cup or ashtray.  Within a few years her reputation spread and parents from Redding, Ridgefield, Danbury, Newtown and other Fairfield County locales brought their children too. 

Edith Cauchi - biography in brief:

born: Edith Beiner, 1910, New York, New York
died: 1980, Bethel, Connecticut
married to Joseph Cauchi
son: Richard Cauchi
education: New York public schools, Manhattan Teachers College, Columbia University (1930-32), Artists Guild of New York, New School for Social Research. Taught in Manhattan elementary schools (1935-41)
Director and co-owner: Turkey Plain Pottery, Bethel, Connecticut, 1950-1980

Art work: ceramics, ceramic sculpture, stone sculpture, oil painting and charcoal sketches.
Exhibits: various galleries in Connecticut and New York state.

Edith Cauchi sculpture
Three carolers (terracotta clay, unglazed, c.1970)

While the classes and flower vases helped pay the bills, it was her one-of-a-kind sculpture that gave her true satisfaction and attracted a steady flow of customers, mostly attracted by word of mouth.  In the late 1970's she experimented with stone sculpture, but remained committed to ceramic work until her sudden death in April 1980 at age 69.

 

E Cauchi sculpture
Seated girl
(terracotta clay)

  

Two doves
Two doves
(glazed ceramic, c. 1975)

 

Edith Cauchi: Seated famale
female figure with birdbath (partly glazed ceramic)

 

Edith Cauchi sculpture-7
woman (abstract - top view)
glazed ceramic, c. 1975

E. Cauchi sculpture-8
woman (abstract - front)
glazed ceramic, c 1975

 

More Edith ceramics

Joe Cauchi Art | Cauchi photos

10/2/2010  All rights reserved (c) 2010 R. Cauchi -  http://www.colorado2.com/cauchi/edith_cauchi.html