Susan Smith James works in clay, paper and words.
Susan Smith James is an artist, who lives on a farm in southern New Jersey. She spent many years as an award-winning, full-time potter. She found that the responsibilities of raising her two sons and caring for the farm, with her husband, took up all of her time. Working in clay became more of a wish than an actuality. When her youngest son went off to college, she found that dragons were tapping on her shoulder, asking her to construct pots of them. After she had made several dragon vessels, they began sharing their conversations with her, and the beginnings of “Dancing Dragon Magic: Dialogues in Clay” took shape.
After having been introduced to clay in High School, Susan went on to earn a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree, concentrating in ceramics and jewelry. With that knowledge, Susan opened and operated her own gallery, where she sold her pottery and jewelry as well as the works of other local artists. She was included in the “Fourth Biennial of New Jersey Artists” held at the State Museum. She was also featured in “Ergo Ego”, a traveling exhibit of self-portraits. Her entry included a mermaid’s tail and a dragon, which seem as much a part of her being as her own face. This may explain why, many years later, she picked up her work by creating a series of dragon vessels and wrote a story occurring on a planet inhabited by dragons and mer-people.
Susan teaches the children at the local grade school about pottery making once a year, so that they may grow up to love clay as much as she does.
“Although I am happiest in my studio with my hands in clay, the dragons want to take off and fly all over the world, so here I go, to tell their story. ‘Be seen’, I keep hearing, and so I am.”, says Susan