Originally from rural Virginia, Anna Metcalfe currently lives with her family in Minneapolis where she works out of her home studio and teaches at Minneapolis College. Metcalfe is interested in how art can be a vehicle for social change and can reflect a concern for the environment, food cultures, and creating vibrant communities. She is a recipient of a number of awards and grants, including three MN State Arts Board Artist Initiative Grants, a fellowship and residency for environmental artists at the Camargo Foundation in Cassis, France, an Open Studio Fellowship at Franconia Sculpture Park, and a McKnight Foundation professional development grant. For Metcalfe, clay is the medium that weaves history, landscape, culture and art together.
My artistic voice has been formed by the language of functional pots. The quiet tactility of clay in the service of food and drink is the link I use to connect with people. I find that pottery puts even the most skeptical audiences at ease. It is inherently non-hierarchical and inviting. It can both elicit ideas of home, and it can be home. In my work it does both. I use the ceramic vessel to seek empathy–to understand myself and others.
Everything I make is an attempt to intimately connect–with other people, with the land, with water and with the food that nourishes us. I employ many tools in my artistic practice in addition to clay: storytelling, collaboration with other artists, scientists and community members. My work is both functional and sculptural, and the media I use varies from slip cast porcelain to coil built earthenware, from drinking tea to facilitating conversation. Despite the diversity of contexts and materials in my work, the persistently unifying ingredient is intimacy. All of my work is an invitation to deeply understand other people, the natural world and how to heal together–land, water and people.