Photography Credit:

Syd Carpenter
Birth Date:


Artist Gallery
“As a child I always knew that I was a visual artist – that mentally, emotionally I would be an artist. I not only liked looking at things, thinking about them, but also the physical involvement, handling material, looking at things other people had handled and made." Syd Carpenter was originally a painting major at Temple University’s Tyler School of Art. The prerequisite electives she took included ceramics and she became captivated with the ceramic medium. Her interest in ceramics was a gradual process, but by the time she completed her MFA she knew she had found the perfect medium. African American artist, Carpenter’s work has gone through several phases. Her early work was vessel-like, stretched and pulled, with pressure applied from the inside. She used intense, bright surface colors. In the mid 80s, she began experimenting with sculptural forms that turned into 4 x 4 foot wall hangings. In the late 80s she journeyed to Brazil. While she was there she attended a Kodumbro ritual (a syntheses of the Yoruba religion and Catholicism). It gave Carpenter, an African-American, a heightened sense of her heritage, and the event became the next catalyst for her work. In the 90s her walls and vessels pieces now suggest the rhythm of both plant life and human spirituality. About this piece, Carpenter said: "This piece was part of a series of pots that combined my love of painting with my love of making decorative pots. I chose the image of grazing animals after seeing the pre-historic paintings of animals in the caves at Lascaux in France.  The surfaces are evocative of the weathered surfaces of the caves but the colors recall those seen in early impressionist and Fauv paintings of the late 19th and early 20th century French painting. The shape of the pot refers to an animal, perhaps a bird."