Interview with the Artist: Cynthia Harper

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Ever since she was a little girl, artist Cynthia Harper knew she was different. Growing up on a dairy farm near Lake Michigan, she spent her days in a tiny farmhouse workshop, making things with her hands. “By age four or five, I just knew I was made to make things,” she said. “and I fell in love with clay most of all.”

Before pursuing a career in clay at the age of 40, she spent her life in other artistic pursuits: she became an illustrator and graphic artist, then a fabric clothing artist, embodying that true Renaissance Woman.

“At about the age of 40, I made a conscious decision to step away from clothing and really pursue clay. I bought a used kiln, and the rest is history.”

Completely self-taught, Cynthia looked at magazines and clay catalogs for hundreds of hours until she had mastered her craft.

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“I like the clay medium because it is ancient and it is from the Earth. There is just no way I could ever exhaust the medium in my life.”

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Cynthia says she stays inspired by everything around her. She is particularly inspired by nature, her four rescue dogs, and great works of literature, particularly Walt Whitman. ” I just like to see a thing and make it happen. I can be inspired by anything, characters, galleries, fashion shows, everything is art.”

A vital part of the Sarasota art’s scene, Cynthia met Alan and Stan at the Sun Circle Art Festival in the Sapphire Shores neighborhood. “They came and bought a piece and next thing you know I was at their showroom, and their aesthetic is fantastic! It’s such an exciting and contemporary space.”

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These days Cynthia can be found running an artist’s cooperative in Nakomis.

“I am the president of Nokomis Artists Cooperative, a recently formed group of artists exhibiting at and running a place called “Ruby’s Cottage Gallery” on 106 East Pocono Trail. Our goal is to develop a creative oasis that focuses primarily on the artists living and working in Nokomis and the surrounding area.

Cynthia will soon be collaborating in building an interesting art and antique sale/show, that will include vintage/ coastal and re-purposed furniture as well as fine craft. The opening show is scheduled for July.