Brookhaven’s Adrina Richard tells stories through ceramics

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Community Connections: Adrina Richard.Adrina Richard is a ceramics artist and resident of Brookhaven. .She has a passion for connecting with others through art, finding inspiration in the array of textures in the world around her.She's also inspired by the childhood memories of her Armenian mother and father.Richard has always been interested in art — pottery, in particular.I was drawn to changing shapes and impressing textures onto the clay. Hand-building became my go-to method, Adrina Richard

Each month, as part of our Aging in Atlanta series, The Atlanta Journal-Constitution introduces readers to a member of the city’s thriving 55+ community. This month, we profile Adrina Richard, a ceramics artist and resident of Brookhaven. Richard has a passion for connecting with others through art. She finds inspiration in the array of textures in the world around her and in the childhood memories of her Armenian mother and father. Richard tells us more in the conversation below.

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Q: Can you tell us a bit about your background?

A: I have lived in Brookhaven since the 1970s. I was active in the civil rights movement in the 1960s and was a university administrator for over 30 years. Born in New York, I came to Georgia to go to college. My parents were immigrants, survivors of the Armenian genocide. My father was a graduate of Yale music school and a professional musician, and my mother was a homemaker with a wonderful sense of fabric design and texture. You can see her influence in my work.

Q: How did you come to art?

A: I have always been interested in art, especially pottery. I started looking at ancient pottery as a child and continued my interest into adulthood. I was drawn to archeology and works of ancient peoples. The creation of art in caves and on vessels has always fascinated me.

I never studied art formally, and yet always collected and admired pottery as an adult — long before I ever tried to create some myself.

Q: What is it about sculptural art and pottery, in particular, you most love?

A: The hand of the potter or sculptor. It gives me a thrill, the fact that throughout humanity, human hands have touched clay and were inspired to create.

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Photo shows Adrina looking at a piece in progress after finishing glazing details on the bottom.

Credit: CHRIS HUNT

Photo shows Adrina looking at a piece in progress after finishing glazing details on the bottom.

Credit: CHRIS HUNT

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Photo shows Adrina looking at a piece in progress after finishing glazing details on the bottom.

Credit: CHRIS HUNT

Credit: CHRIS HUNT

Q: Can you tell us a little bit more about the type of art you make, and why you chose ceramic art over others?

A: As a child I spent a lot of time with my mother, watching her using patterns to create clothing. When I started learning pottery, I worked strictly on the wheel, throwing round pots and working on improving that skill.

However, I was drawn to changing shapes and impressing textures onto the clay. Hand-building became my go-to method. In that way, I could roll out slabs of clay and create “patterns” that I could cut out and create odd shapes and, more importantly, impress textures in layers. This gave me more control of the impressions before the pot was created.

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Q: What most inspires you?

A: Textures always inspire me. I am constantly looking at textures that surround me. I like to create pieces that are functional, yet beautiful to admire on their own. Creating new pieces is always energizing. Though thinking of ways to keep interest in a piece without losing functionality is challenging, looking at art — all kinds of art — is inspirational and fills up the soul.

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Photo provided by Adrina Richard of a finished piece of her work.

Credit: CHRIS HUNT

Photo provided by Adrina Richard of a finished piece of her work.

Credit: CHRIS HUNT

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Photo provided by Adrina Richard of a finished piece of her work.

Credit: CHRIS HUNT

Credit: CHRIS HUNT

Q: How has art and your work helped you navigate the challenges of the past couple of years?

A: I speak to other artists and we all agree that creating art has helped us endure the pandemic. Although art shows and galleries have closed, many of us keep creating art. It is a joy to create regardless of the audience or lack thereof.

Q: How might someone in the community who is looking to connect with other artists best go about doing that?

A: Instagram and Facebook are filled with artists. I have made friends with artists across the country and around the world through those websites. Also, researching particular art forms on the web will give one more information.

Q: What advice would you have for someone who wanted to begin pursuing a creative career later in life?

A: Jump in! Don’t wait! If you even have a tickle of a desire to pursue something, do it!

I started by going to a pottery studio called MudFire in Decatur. Not knowing anything, they got me started and encouraged me along the way. They teach you when you come in the door, and leave you alone when you want them to. I had no idea that I would be selling pottery one day, but here I am.

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