Artisans on Main: Trish Salmon

Trish Salmon | Claywork by Hand

Trish Salmon is a hand builder. Her clay work is both figurative and abstract and at times a combination of both. Preferring natural-looking surfaces that are layered and multi-fired, Trish loves creating work that has wonderful textures and colors, whether it has a designated function or is purely aesthetic. The use of a hand-crafted item can be different experience than the use of a manufactured item, and Trish hopes to continue building these personal connections she has with the user. We caught up with Trish to find out more about her work, her process and what it is like living in Western North Carolina.

Your clay work is whimsical and playful. How would you describe your work, and where exactly do you find your inspiration for such unique creations? 
Trish Salmon at Artisans on MainI enjoy working with clay because it is so versatile. I can make serious work which is usually based on some natural forms and I can make pieces that are fun and whimsical. Sometimes song lyrics can inspire. I want to make a piece called “Take Your Cheatin’ Hands Off My Red Dress, I Ain’t Wearin’ This Thing For You.” That would be fun. Using traditional handbuilding techniques such as coiling and slab, I create my sculpture as well as my functional pieces. I use a lot of texture that looks like bark or erosion or something timeworn and exposed to the elements. I usually use colors found in nature. I have also enjoyed a collaboration with Leah Baker in supplying some of the lamp bases for her wonderful, unique lamps.

Trish Salmon at Artisans on Main

Can you explain your process and describe what visitors to the gallery can expect to see from you this holiday season? 
I don’t always have a firm plan of what I am going to build. I can start in an direction but am often pulled in a different direction. The thing is to start working. The clay will tell you what to do. Sometimes it says “No” but most times it is an enjoyable dance.

Tell us what it’s like living in WNC as an artist and how that contributes to your creativity. 
After many visits to Penland School of Crafts and spending the day in Asheville on the way home, my husband and I fell in love with the area. Coming from the Atlanta area, the mountain lifestyle with its less frantic pace was very appealing. We have been here ten years and it has been wonderful. I think there must be some kind of vortex here that draws creative people. The amount of culture and art here is amazing considering the size of the population. Life here is good.
Trish Salmon at Artisans on Main
Find out more about Trish by visiting her website:
Or drop by Artisans on Main at 14 N. Main St. in Weaverville, NC!