To say that Kimberly Medeiros’s clay work radiates color and verve—her pieces practically dance on her studio shelves—is only half the story. The Pocasset potter’s desire to change the world through her art is just as impressive.
Medeiros also teaches. One of her students, Sarah Symons, is co-founder of The Emancipation Network. The organization rescues trafficked women and girls, mainly in India, and Medeiros traveled to India in 2006 to witness this human tragedy. “It changed my life,” the artist says in her home studio, filled with fetching pots and other clay pieces that show her inner fire.
After returning from India, Medeiros created her “India Series,” a collection of pottery rich and textural in color and design, depicting some of the girls and women she met. “We were in the red light district, in slum schools, where garbage was piled 13 feet high,” she says. She tagged the series “Pots with a Purpose” and today donates a percentage of sales to help the women. One piece is Cruel Kurnool, a platter that shows trafficked girls—some as young as 10 years old—working as prostitutes in Andhra Pradesh, India.
Medeiros, a mother of two, also produces pots with a lighthearted theme. Her “Motherhood Series” includes Baby Belly Mugs, which feature pregnant women rendered with artful but playful details, and vases with mother and child themes. Her technique is sgraffito, a painstaking process that involves applying slip to unfired ceramic and then carving a design. She was inspired to create the “Motherhood Series” when two passions dovetailed: motherhood and her discovery of the paintings of the late Gustav Klimt, who created The Kiss.
Last winter, Medeiros was juried into the prestigious Society of Cape Cod Craftsmen. But her inspiration often comes from people who don’t know the meaning of prestige: today, some of her favorite pieces are created by stamping clay, which was inspired by her small-fry students. “I love teaching,” Medeiros says. “It keeps me fresh.”
Kimberly Medeiros’s work may be seen at her studio, The Barn, at 359 Barlows Landing Road in Pocasset (thebarnpottery.com). Medeiros shows at these events: The Society of Cape Cod Craftsmen Show, Aug. 14-16 at Drummer Boy Park in Brewster; “Art of Clay: Function and Beyond,” Oct. 3-21 at the Falmouth Artists Guild at 137 Gifford Street in Falmouth; and “Concepts in Clay,” Oct. 27-Jan. 6, 2013 at the Cape Cod Museum of Art at 60 Hope Lane in Dennis.