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About My Work


Living in the deep woods I enjoy daily opportunity to observe nature, the beauty and the beast.
I seek out the mystery and beauty experienced by a walk in the woods, the quiet places and secret gardens.
My recent works of wall pieces include a menagerie of birds, rabbits, moths, owls and foxes and imaginary animals coupled with botanical themes.

I am a juried exhibiting member of The Piedmont Craftsmen's Guild and Carolina Designer Craftsmen Guild, and the Orange County Artist Guild.

Cathy has completed many projects for public buildings and specializes in hospitals. Her projects include NC Memorial Hospitals, Duke Hospitals, Mayo Clinic, Park Health Services and more. She lives in the woods of Orange County, NC with her husband, artist Mark Brown and their sweet Australian Shepherd, Comet.


How I work

Each clay piece is one-of-a-kind, created in a series.
My work is primarily hand built, using terra-cotta or white stoneware clay. Surfaces are painted with a variety of slips and glazes along with sgraffito on the surface.
I sometimes use my own molds and hand-made stamps as aids in the forming and texturing of the surface. Other times I draw into moist slabs of clay with my finger or carve using wood block carving tools.

After a couple of weeks of very slow drying the sculpture is painted with colored clay slip or engobe, then fired in a kiln to 1900 degrees. After it has cooled the piece is hand painted with ceramic glazes. The glazes are often very temperamental. Re-firing the piece with more glazes, lustres, crystal glazes is often necessary to achieve the vibrant surfaces that characterize my art.

Clay is a material of contradictions. It is challenging and forgiving, simple and complex, predictable and surprising, primitive and refined. I continue to learn and explore.

Where I work

I do my clay work in a studio building in the woods of Orange County, North Carolina, that I share with my husband Mark Brown, a fine art painter.

Studio visits are by appointment, at my two annual open studio/sales, and other special open studio dates.

If you want to stop by to see me, give me a call at 919-968-8438, or email me cathy@cathykiffney.com.

See a schedule of upcoming events.
See a map to the studio.


an imagined eden: hand-built ceramic wall works, vessels, and art tiles