Ceramic Artist

In Her
Own Words


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In the



Cecily Fortescue, who passed away on October 19, 2012,  was born in England and received a doctorate in languages from Oxford University. After four years as Associate Professor at London University she tired of teaching and left for Rome. It was there, while working as a free-lance translator, that she first put her hands to clay.

She became a full-time, predominantly self-taught potter after moving to New York in 1973. Since then her award-winning work has been seen in numerous galleries, in the shop of the Museum of Arts and Design, and in stores such as Design Technics, Henri Bendel, and Macy's Cellar. Six of her pieces are on the juried CDs put out by Art Communication International. She taught pottery at the Children's Aid Society, the 92nd Street Y in New York City and at the Catskill Art Society in Hurleyville, NY.

Her work is both thrown and handbuilt, and ranges in size from miniatures to very large vessels constructed with hand-rolled slabs. She used a variety of imprinting and glazing techniques, and each of the large handbuilt pieces is unique in design, form, and color, with unglazed exteriors often contrasting strongly with richly colored interiors. Although all are functional, their organic shapes suggest shell and flower forms and their size lends them a strong sculptural quality.

Cecily Fortescue lived and worked upstate in a farmhouse and pottery studio in tranquil Callicoon, New York. Her other interests included gardening, playing the viola, traveling, and hosting an exciting weekly classical music program on WJFF Radio Catskill.

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