Katharina Roth developed a fascination for clay while she was studying for her BFA in Jewelry and Metalsmithing in 2011. She decided to change her major to Ceramics, which quickly became her newfound passion.
Porcelain is her favorite medium, about which she says, “Its fragility reminds me of the preciousness of life, and its white color of purity and innocence. It also gives the clothing an archival quality and as such freezes a moment in time. With every piece I create, I weave a story that hopefully sparks each viewer’s own memories and interpretations.”
She graduated from NAU in the spring of 2015 and was featured in the BFA Show in Beasley Gallery. She created her first ceramic clothing installation called Laundry Day for the NAU SLUGG Garden in May of 2014. She has focused mainly on hand building garments for her projects since. In reference to her work with ceramic garments, she says, “Clothes tell stories that touch on the roles we play in society, the rites of passage we go through, or simply how garments – and with that, traditions – have changed over time. Working on these pieces is a deeply meditative process for me. While I create each fold I explore the stories there are – in me and outside of myself.” Currently she is exploring other forms as well that are hand built out of porcelain.
In 2015, she showed work in Third Side of the Coin, an exhibition at the Flagstaff Modern and Contemporary Art Gallery with artists Sky Black and Matthew Rucker. She was also invited by Shawn Skabelund to join a group of 11 artists in the development of Fires of Change, an exhibition which involved the artists participating in a one week Fire Science Bootcamp. Afterwards, the artists had about a year to interpret what they learned into art, as a way to communicate the intricacies of fire science to a wider audience. Her solo installation was Nineteen, which featured nineteen porcelain fire fighter helmets that were wood fired. The wood ash gave each helmet its own glaze and characteristics. This piece was created as a memorial to the nineteen hotshots who perished in the Yarnell Fire in 2013. She also collaborated with fellow artist Craig Goodworth on Tree Core Study 1.
Regarding the subject of Nineteen, she says, “After our week long immersion into the science of forest fires, I had many ideas for this show. As time went by, and as I eliminated one idea after the other – because they either did not seem strong enough, or because they were simply too monumental – one topic still hit home: the 19 hot shots that died during the Yarnell Fire. Although this is a show about positive change and new ways of dealing with huge fuel loads and extreme fires, we cannot ignore the fact, that the way we used to do things has caused many men and women to lose their lives. And I wanted to talk about it.”