Artist Spotlight: Bianka Groves
Bianka Groves’ path to NCC was a winding journey featuring a multitude of interests that eventually led to her centering her life on ceramics. Her work comes to life out of a 100 square foot shed in the backyard of her Santa Fe, New Mexico home. Groves has been making pots since 1996, but feels that she really hit her stride in 2011 when she picked up clay again after a 6-year hiatus. Before ceramics took the spotlight, she held every odd job imaginable, from working with troubled teenagers to running a record store; she even considered becoming a professional rock climber, entomologist, or mechanic. She was originally an anthropology major in college, but after receiving a letter from the financial aid department that she had taken too many art classes and not enough classes for her declared major, she transferred to art school. As we know, art was the right fit, and she continues to charm us with her graceful ceramic forms.
NCC: Tell us about your work.
BG: The work that I make is black and white, functional, and wheel thrown. Forms are usually kept simple while the surface becomes a literal or nonliteral 360-degree view of geometric landscapes or aesthetically pleasing designs. I try to follow the rules of good craftsmanship, leaving the finished product a tactile, timelessly classic, well-made piece of pottery.
NCC: What else do you do for money in addition to making your work?
BG: Besides making pots, I was teaching at Santa Fe Clay until they closed their doors. Now I’m working alongside ten other amazing people to open a new clay center here in Santa Fe. We plan to open this May! Outside of ceramics, I farm cactus and move cattle when the seasons change.
NCC: What do you love most about making your work?
BG: What I love most about being a potter is the achievements that I’ve made and continue to make. It’s the first time in my life that I’ve felt stability and consistency with something. It's wonderful to make beautiful things and have an audience cheer you on in your work, and the psychological effects of these accomplishments are just as motivating. I’m appreciative every day.
NCC: What else are you excited about in your life?
BG: I enjoy spending time alone. I hike in the desert with my dogs and fill my backpack with rocks, old rusty things, bones, and oddly shaped sticks. Recently, I acquired a ’71 pickup to restore. I listen to many different kinds of music and lots of podcasts. My priority is to keep making pots, each one more subtly different than the next, while trying to learn a little something about anything else.